Stephen Kappata was born in the Western Province of Zambia in 1936. During the Colonial and Federal days he worked in Rhodesia and South Africa from 1958-62. He returned to Zambia to join the Ruling Party as a Branch Secretary to the branch Chairman. He worked in the Ministry of Agriculture as a Visual Aids Producer and Graphic Art Designer. From 1965-86, when he took early retirement, becoming a full time painter, he was taught to paint by a painter from Zaire, Phiri.