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 call 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. 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