Kwame Dawes was born on July 28, 1962, in Ghana. Kwame Dawes was born in Ghana but moved to Jamaica as a child, and has also lived in England, Canada, and the United States. He was the son of Neville and Sophia (Tevi) Dawes. Neville Dawes was a writer. Sophia (Tevi) Dawes was an artist and social worker. In 1971 the family moved to Kingston, Jamaica, when Neville Dawes became deputy director of the Institute of Jamaica.