Joachim Schönfeldt was born in Pretoria, but his family moved to Namibia just three weeks later. He completed his schooling in Namibia. After graduating from the University of the Witwatersrand in the early 1980s, he worked for Meneghelli Holdings as an advisor, curator and researcher in old African art, and then he became a full-time artist in 1988. In 1989 he worked and lived in Italy before settling in Johannesburg the following year, writing criticism for a local daily, and curating, but mostly practising art. In 2002 he taught art at The Ecole Cantonale d’Valais in Sierre, Switzerland.