Mbele was born in Johannesburg in 1942. From an early age he developed an
interest in art and sketched all aspects of township life around him. He spent
his time after school copying cartoons from the newspapers. In 1958 he
attended art classes at the Jubilee Art Centre under Cecil Skotnes and in 1959
he was encouraged to join the art class at Polly Street Center.
Mbele's work belongs to the genre of township art. The subject matter of his paintings is the life of the Black man in the cities, portrayed with individual figures or groups of figures. They are shown going about their everyday activities, for example reading a newspaper, selling and delivering milk, running errands, or enjoying a drink