Mzwakhe Mbuli rose to fame in the mid-1980s as the people’s poet, reciting his resistance poems at political rallies, often sneaking in and out because he was wanted by the apartheid security forces.
Shifty invited him to record an album dub-poetry style, with a backing band. In 1986 the album Change is Pain was recorded with a core backing band of Simba Morri (guitar), Gito Baloi (bass) and Ian Herman (drums). The album was promptly banned because of its outspoken political message.
In 1989 Mzwakhe recorded a second album with Shifty, Unbroken Spirit, which in part documented his time in prison. In the 1990s he continued to record albums but with major labels.