Colleen was born in Harare, the Zimbabwean capital in 1964, and received her secondary school education in Katuma. Colleen studied for a time at the Workshop School at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe and achieved her BAT.
Initially interested in drawing and painting, it was not until she met and married famed sculptor Fabian Madamombe and befriended a pioneer of the Zimbabwean women’s art movement Agnes Nyanhongo, that Colleen became truly passionate about sculpture.
Colleen began sculpting rather ambivalent subject matter—bees, butterflies, caterpillars—but the idea of being a woman drew her; what it means to be a woman; the challenges women face; women in art. She portrays the innocence of a young girl, the robust pride of a pregnant woman, the humor in the gaze of a mother, and the strength in a Matriarch’s smile. Colleen, in her stone, tells us what it means to be a woman—what it means to be tired and trodden on, and what it means to stand together as a group, or to stand alone, strong as a rock.
Colleen has said, "A lot of women are artists and just don't realize it - making pots and other things for the home, and not for sale." She believed in a movement of women as individuals standing together, and taught this to her protégé, Gerald Mubuvazi, as well as to her seven children. Colleen passed away in May of 2009 to an AIDS related illness.