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OriginSouth Africa
Years active1982–present
LabelsTM Performing Arts Management
MembersRay Phiri (1947–2017)
Nana Coyote
Isaac "Mnca" Mtshali
Thabo Lloyd Lelosa
Jabu S'bumbe
Thapelo Khomo
Ntokozo Zungu
Sam Ndlovu
Bafana Khuzwayo

Stimela is a South African Afro-fusion band, founded during the 1970s by Ray Phiri, a self-taught guitarist. The band was formed when Phiri got together with drummer Isaac Mtshali, Thabo Lloyd Lelosa and Jabu Sibumbe, and they initially called themselves the Cannibals. The band started out as instrumentalists, but it later evolved to Afro-fusion when they joined forces with vocalist Jacob "Mparanyana" Radebe in 1975, continuing to work together for four years. The band kept going after Radebe died in 1978.

They changed their name to Stimela after a life-changing experience in Mozambique when they were stranded in Maputo for three months. They had to sell all their belongings to take a train home. This trip was a watershed moment as it was where they conceived the new name for the band: train is translated as Stimela in Nguni languages.

Besides the change in name, the band also expanded with new members Charlie "Sam" Ndlovu, Nana Coyote, Thapelo Kgomo and Ntokozo Zungu.[1] With soulful tunes and gripping lyrics, the band has recorded platinum-winning albums such as Fire, Passion and Ecstasy, Listen, Look and Decide as well as the controversial People Don't Talk, So Let's Talk. One of their most memorable tracks — "Whispers in the Deep" — was restricted for broadcast by the old South African Broadcasting Corporation.[2]



  • 1982: Mama Wami
  • 1982: The Cannibals
  • 1983: I Hate Telling A Lie /I Love You
  • 1984: Fire, Passion and Ecstasy
  • 1985: Shadows, Fear and Pain
  • 1986: Look, Listen and Decide
  • 1986: Rewind (EP)
  • 1987: The Unfinished Story
  • 1988: Live!
  • 1989: Trouble In The Land of Plenty
  • 1990: The 2nd Half
  • 1991: Siyaya
  • 1992: Khululani
  • 1993: Are You Ready (Live Album)
  • 1994: Don't Ask Why
  • 1995: Are You Ready (Live)
  • 1996: Out of the Ashes
  • 2000: Steam Tracks (Best of)
  • 2001: Live At The Market Theatre - 1st Half (Stimela 1988 Live Re-Release )
  • 2002: The 2nd Half (Re-release)
  • 2010: A Lifetime...
  • 2011: Turn on the Sun[citation needed]
  • 2018: Catch The Train


  1. ^ Craig Harris, Artist Biography, AllMusic,
  2. ^ "Raymond Chikapa Phiri", The Presidency, Republic of South Africa.[dead link]