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From the album Field of Dreams

When he was young, he used to have a doll
Nothing grand just something he could hold
He called it Africa, Africa by name
A lonely child from day start till the end
But in that doll, he always had a friend
He called it Africa, from Africa he came

Africa was all he had
It was more than enough for him
A secret world that they shared
They’d fight through thick and thin
To distant lands where heroines
Were trapped by wicked men
The day was saved by Africa
And Africa’s best friend

As time passed by his world remained the same
Friends came and went then came around again
But always Africa, Africa was there
What wondrous stories they could tell
But he told them only to himself
Just he and Africa, for only Africa he cared

It was just a name, just a word and nothing more
No deeper meaning, no mysterious door
He knew that doll had something more than life
A lake where they could bathe, where stories came alive


This song demanded to be called Africa, and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t come up with an alternative. It left me with the problem that there have been so many great songs written about Africa by people with far more of a connection to it than I have. Fortunately, the solution came with the first line “When she was young, she used to have a doll,” which led to, “she called it Africa.” Africa, the continent, became Africa the muse. It didn’t seem right to assume that, just because it was a doll, it had to belong to a girl, so I gave it to a young boy, and the rest of the song wrote itself.