Sebati Edward Mafate was born in Zambia and raised in Botswana and South Africa. His father, a political refugee from South Africa fled his country before Sebati was born. The Mafate's then moved to Botswana, and shortly thereafter Sebati attended Lesedi Primary School and had a short stint at AB Phokompe High in Randfontein South Africa, before moving back to Botswana where he completed his high school. In 1992 he won the Bishop Desmond Tutu Scholarship Fund and moved to Southern California, where he attended Pasadena City College and the University Of California in Los Angeles (UCLA), where he earned a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Civil Engineering and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Creative Writing. Sebati has three children and lives in Pasadena with his wife.