This song tells the story of a man who comes to Africa and must make a decision about the girl who comes to see him. He is enamored with the country, but must leave if...
I hear the drums echoing tonight
But she hears only whispers of some quiet conversation
She's coming in, 12:30 flight
The moonlit wings reflect the stars that guide me towards salvation
I stopped an old man along the way
Hoping to find some long forgotten words or ancient melodies
He turned to me as if to say, "Hurry boy, it's waiting there for you"

It's gonna take a lot to take me away from you
There's nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I bless the rains down in Africa
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had

The wild dogs cry out in the night
As they grow restless, longing for some solitary company
I know that I must do what's right
As sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti
I seek to cure what's deep inside, frightened of this thing that I've become

It's gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
There's nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I bless the rains down in Africa
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had

Hurry boy, she's waiting there for you

It's gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
There's nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I bless the rains down in Africa
I bless the rains down in Africa
(I bless the rain)
I bless the rains down in Africa
(I bless the rain)
I bless the rains down in Africa
I bless the rains down in Africa
(Ah, gonna take the time)
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had


Lyrics submitted by numb

"Africa" as written by Jeffrey T Porcaro David F Paich

Lyrics © SPIRIT MUSIC GROUP

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Africa song meanings
Add your thoughts

98 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +3
    General Commenti really love africa
    sindy_maurinaon March 08, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General Commenthow does loving Africa make anybody racist?
    roger wilcoon June 14, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General CommentWOW!!! Many of you scholars are deeply and profoundly RETARDED!!

    This song is about a guy finding his love in Africa. Due to this, he blesses the rains in Africa, based on the fact that 'Africa' had brought them together to begin with.

    You little juvenile fuckers need to lay off of the board and catch up with MTV.com or something. Leave Toto to people who know and give a shit about what life is, instead of worrying about where you're gonna spread your ignorance to next. RACISM RACISM RACISM!!! Go buy another rap record that you don't QUITE appreciate people!!!!

    I SAID GOOD DAY!!!
    Scottboy79on February 16, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThe words are "I bless the rains down in Africa" Trust me, i had to sing this song in concert.

    As for racism, I don´t really think this song has anything to do with it. I think its more about a guy that loves this woman, and he´s trying to find some way to tell her that. There´s more, but it will have to wait for another time.
    TaddyTeddyon April 20, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General Commentall i know is, you guys need to youtube Andy Mckee's version of this song. it is BEYOND INCREDIBLE
    lilryonfire69on May 13, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI've always liked this song, but never really could figure out the meaning of the lyrics until I listened real closely the other day and applied the words to circumstances in my own life...and they took on a real meaning for me. My interpretation is that it relates to the ever-present battle in a man's heart between ramaining a faithful husband and the lure of the uncommitted and single life.

    Africa is a metaphore for lure of the wild single life/nightlife/meat market(whatever you want to call it)that can draw a man away and fail his wife.

    "I hear the drums echo in the night" is the constant din of temptation that eventually can wear down a man until he gives in.

    "As she here's whispers of some quiet conversation" suggests his devoted wife is not distracted by such desires ad is oblivious to the tug-of-war going on in her man's heart.

    "The wild dogs cry out in the night as they grow restless longing for some solitary company" are his old friends who are still single and in the night scene on the prowl like the wild beasts in Africa longing for some prey and trying to get him to share in the spoils. He has held strong and faithful to his love but the call of the wild is wearing him down and and he is contemplating on giving in to these lusts.

    "I seek to cure what's deep inside, frightened of this thing that I've become" He recognizes he could actually go through with it and it's scaring him.

    "I know that I must do what's right, sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti" Kilimanjaro is a metaphor for his conscience rising up in him to do the right thing, stay strong and remain loyal to his woman. Why the writer used Olympus to describe it I'm not sure, but it fits that Mount Olympus is actually where Zeus, the God of Greek mythology, founded his proper kingdom with his family.

    "I stoppped an old man along the way hoping to find some old forgotten words or ancient melodies. He turned to me as if to say, Hurry boy it's waiting there for you!"
    This is where he confided in a friend or perhaps someone like an uncle or religious figure for some sound advice. He is "frightened of this thing he's become" and is hoping this person would encouraged him to fend off these desires with "Old forgotten words or ancient melodies", a reference to the Bible and what it has to say about love, marriage and adultery, but to his suprise was told, "Go for it! Hurry before she returns, every man does it, it's just waiting there for you!"

    "The moonlit wings reflect the stars that guide me toward salvation" means if he can stay strong, he'll soon be reunited with his true love and past the temptations of being alone.

    "It's gonna take a lot to drag me away from you. There's nothing that a hundred men or more can ever do". His battle cry that no matter how hard the world tries to lure him away, he will remain loyal to his love.

    "I blessed the rains down in Africa" is his victory cry. He conquered the storm and all the rain it dumped on him; the lonliness, darkness and temptation" and whether they knew it or not, was a blessing of hope for all those still caught in the rain.

    "It's going to take some time to do the things we never had." He is looking forward to spending the rest of his life with his wife and doing many things together they've never done before.

    Janderon July 13, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI don't think this song is about a girl at all. I think this song is about starting over and returning to nature and human origins... Look here... notice that he does not say "she's coming in on a 12:30 flight"... He says "she's coming in, 12:30 flight" I think "she" is the plane.

    This song is about self cleansing and starting over. The rains in africa are washing away his present life. He wants to get away from the modern world and technology and politics and return to the place of human origins, Africa, which throughout history was also known as an undiscovered place. He wants to leave all the bullshit in his life and find the meaning.

    This is my theory... I think it is more interesting than a love story. Also if this song is a love song then the whole Africa motif is really stupid and irrelevant... Who in their right mind would write a love song and try to incorporate a safari or a tourist trip into the lyrics...That doesn't make sense.
    Dumbdumbon November 02, 2009   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningHere's something from the waze.net/china/… website...and I think the writer has something here.....

    I hear the drums echoing tonight,
    But she hears only whispers of some quiet conversation.

    A phone call on the day before her flight. She talks about flight numbers, her last day at work before taking leave, her family, and so on. It brings back memories of his old, mundane life which already seems so long ago. For him, even this conversation fades into the background compared to the sense of mystery and excitement that he feels in Africa. Are the drums that he mentions real? It doesn't matter–sometimes the newcomer is more aware of the authenticity of the culture around him or her than even the locals are, and the drums here symbolise Africa's tribal heritage (listen out for the bongos in the song's intro).

    She's coming in, twelve-thirty flight,
    The moonlit wings reflect the stars that guide me towards salvation.

    His heart is torn between her and Africa. Even as he watches her plane land, the newly familiar constellations of the southern sky make him think about the changes he has undergone in these few short months. This process, which he calls "salvation", has begun but not yet finished.

    I stopped an old man along the way,
    Hoping to find some long forgotten words or ancient melodies.

    Borrowing from the "tribal Africa" theme introduced in the first line of the song, here we encounter the image of the wise elder. Did the singer really come across this enigmatic figure on the way to an arrival-hall reunion with his girlfriend? In a sense, yes, but the occasion was months ago and the "old man" was Africa itself.

    Although he might not have admitted it even to himself, the singer came to Africa with the romantic notion of learning something from the continent, some ancient secret that had already been "long forgotten" in his own materialistic modern society. (This is, of course, precisely the search for authenticity and spiritual rejuvination which fuels the new-age movement. But let us hope that the singer has not been side-tracked by Ashanti dolls and visits to Zulu shamens).

    He turned to me as if to say,
    Hurry boy, it's waiting there for you.

    Africa didn't serve up "enlightenment" on a silver platter. But experiencing a different culture made him rethink his own values, and overcoming the challenges of a new environment meant changing himself. Africa didn't offer him wise teachings from the past, instead there was only a long process of self-reflection and change awaiting him if he had the courage to pursue it.

    (Chorus)
    It's gonna take a lot to drag me away from you,
    It's nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do.

    He still loves her. These months apart have reconfirmed or perhaps even strengthened that. Nothing could force him to leave her. But the thought on his mind is, what if he has to choose between her and Africa? Without exerting any kind of force, just by its mere existence, Africa might do what a hundred men or more could never do.

    I bless the rains down in Africa.
    It's gonna take some time to do the things we never had. (sic)

    The singer invokes the image of rain, a classic symbol of rebirth and cleansing. But he follows immediately with a request for more time–remember that his "salvation" is not yet complete. I think "the things we never had" in the second line refers to the new experiences that he never even imagined before coming to Africa. Importantly, the pronoun is "we", because the singer doesn't want to choose between her and Africa: he hopes she will stay with him there. For how long? He doesn't give a specific length of time, but nor does he say "forever". All he knows is that now is too early to return.

    In the second verse, naturalistic imagery replaces cultural references as the singer realises that his "rebirth" cannot occur within the parameters of any one culture:

    The wild dogs cry out in the night,
    As they grow restless longing for some solitary company.

    The singer sympathises with the conflicting emotions that he imagines in the wild dogs' howls. He needs more time alone with his thoughts, and can't stand the idea of returning to the hustle and bustle of his home country. And yet he doesn't want to be a hermit–he misses her.

    I know that I must do what's right,
    Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti.

    Of course he should do what's right, but he isn't sure exactly what that is! The moralistic tone of the first line makes one think of his duty to his girlfriend, yet the image that comes to his mind is of the majestic Kilimanjaro. Is it right for his instinctive attraction to this land to overshadow the obligations that society places on him?

    I seek to cure what's deep inside,
    Frightened of this thing that I've become.

    Here is the final irony. Living in his highly developed society, he feels that deep inside he has become some kind of monster, and only by exploring outside the bounds of culture can he "recivilise" himself.

    The chorus repeats, but later there is a single line:

    Hurry boy, she's waiting there for you.

    He is on the verge of meeting her at the airport. She is waiting for him, but so is Africa. If he chooses Africa instead of her, he will miss out on the experiences that they could have had in each other's company. So of course his hope is that she will agree to stay with him in Africa so that they can grow and change together.

    This is my understanding of the song. I don't claim that it is the correct one, or the only one. And I must confess that I don't really know much about Africa, although coincidentally I was born there–my parents lived in South Africa for five years. I must confess that I don't know much about their experiences there either, because I never felt much interest until I too came to live in a foreign country. I wonder what my parents think this song is about.

    Drums
    Allears12on May 26, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Comment... these comments are disturbing. I love this amazing 80's song. The record is faboo. Listen to it. i am. :)
    blisson May 30, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Commentdon't jump at people screaming racism....the music to this is beautiful. But I think the racism thing came up because it sounds like it's about slavery....they were coming to take him away from her and he says he won't go. Even still it is a song about love and liking it doesn't make u racist at all unless u like it simply for the reason that it's about slavery, which would just be stupid.
    thinkitbeiton July 08, 2002   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain