Formed in Johannesburg in 1983 by Simba Morri (acoustic guitar and occasional vocals), John Trafford (saxophone), Derek Walter (bass) and Punka Khosa (drums).

Their song ‘Pambere’ was included on the Shifty Records Forces Favourites compilation album (1985). The group performed with various drummers during their existence. They performed at venues where mixed audiences were allowed or tolerated, especially Jamesons, UDF and ECC gigs and at private jols.

The group broke up in 1986 and Simba Morri went on to record a solo album with Shifty Records. An ep including four of their songs was released on the Shifty Bandcamp site in 2014.

Mzwakhe Mbuli

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.

Simba Morri

Born in Kenya and came to South Africa to study in the early 1980s. In 1983 he formed Mapantsula at the same time as befriending James Philips who introduced him to Shifty Records.

In 1986 Simba Morri left Mapantsula and was invited to record a solo album with Shifty. In 1986 he released the album Wasamata with Shifty.

The core of the band comprising Simba Morri on guitar and vocals, Gito Baloi on bass and Ian Herman on drums. Kelly Pitlane played flute and Jannie van Tonder played trombone. After the album was released the band morphed into Tananas without Simba Morri who continued to perform as a solo musician collaborating with others. In 1990 he recorded the album Celebrating Life with Third Ear Music.

Over the next three decades he has continued to perform in South Africa and in southern Africa: Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Malawi and Namibia.