The song was written by band members keyboardist David Paich and drummer Jeff Porcaro, produced by the band, and mixed by Grammy-winning engineer Elliot Scheiner. “Africa” is the tenth and final track on their fourth studio album Toto IV (1982). It was released as the second single from the album through Columbia Records on 25 June 1982 in the UK (Ocober 1982 in the US) with “Good for You” and “We Made It” on the B-side. The song became the band’s only number one in the Unite States. It topped also the singles charts in Canada, and reached the top ten in numerous countries, incl. #3 in the UK and #5 in Australia.
The music video was directed by Irish-British filmmaker Steve Barron (best known for directing the music videos for the songs “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson, “Take On Me” by A-ha or “Summer of ’69” by Bryan Adams. In the video, David Paich in a library tries to match a scrap of a picture of a shield to the book from which it was torn out. This video also features Mike Porcaro on bass, replacing David Hungate, who had already left the band before the video was made. Lenny Castro is also featured in the video on percussion.
In 2012, “Africa” was listed by music magazine NME in 32nd place on its list of “50 Most Explosive Choruses