Jennifer was born and grew up in Kampala Uganda. She is the eldest child of her father Anthony Kizito Makumbi and the 3rd of her mother, Evelyn Nnakalembe. Her parents separated when she was two years old and for two years she lived with her grandfather Elieza Makumbi. During Amin’s regime, her father a banker was arrested and brutalised. While he was saved from being killed, Jennifer’s father lost his mind for the rest of his life. Jennifer was taken over by her Aunt Catherine Makumbi-Kulubya who brought her up. She lived with her family first at Nakasero then later at Kololo.
For secondary school, she went to Trinity College Nabbingo and to Kings College Buddo for her A levels. While in Senior 3 she wrote her first play for an inter-house competition which came third. She wrote her second play for again for an inter-house competition at A level, once again the play came third. Both these plays were written in English.
She did a B.A degree with Education majoring in teaching English and Literature in English at the Islamic University in Uganda where she edited the university magazine The IUIU Mirror. Jennifer first taught at Nakasero High an A level school then for eight years taught at Hillside High School, an international school in Uganda. At that time she wrote another play Sitaani Teyebase in Luganda for an inter-zone competition. This play won the competition and toured many of the SDA churches within Kampala.
In September 2001 she joined Manchester Metropolitan University to do an MA in Creative Writing. She completed a PhD in Creative writing at Lancaster University. Jennifer has taught at various universities in the U.K teaching both English and Creative Writing as an Associate Lecturer. Jennifer’s writing relies heavily on Ganda oral traditions, especially myths, Legends, folktales and sayings.