Steve Dyer was born in Pietermaritzburg in 1960. He taught himself to play the guitar at the age of eleven. He studied music at the University of Natal where he obtained a degree in classical music in 1981 (1st class).
Dyer left South Africa in 1982 for Botswana where he became involved in the 'Culture and Resistance' symposium. He played with Jonas Gwangwa, Hugh Masekela and Wilson "King Force" Silgee, and helped Gwangwa to form the band Shakawe. It was during this period that Steve chose the saxophone and flute as his main instruments of expression