“Africa” playing forever in Africa

Published 8 months ago - 3


Amber LaBonte

Copy Editor

Are you hoping to find some old forgotten words? What about ancient melodies? Then look no further than the African desert. The 1982 hit-song “Africa” by the American rock band Toto is currently playing on repeat in the Namib Desert.

27-year-old Namibian artist Max Siedentopf installed his invention called Toto Forever late last December upon a trip home to visit his family in Namibia. The device consists of six speakers each placed atop individual, white pedestals, and attached to an MP3 player that only has “Africa” downloaded to it. The entire set-up is powered by solar energy, showing promise that the song might just play for all eternity.

The Stone Henge-like contraption is certainly a striking contrast to the bright orange desert surrounding it. While Siedentopf states “most parts of the installation were chosen to be as durable as possible,” he does feel that there may eventually come a time where the harsh desert environment will swallow it entirely.

Siedentopf claims the inspiration behind this project came from the Internet’s revival of the Eighties hit, driven by social media outlet Twitter, and even a Reddit page dedicated entirely to the song. Recent covers from pop music artists such as Weezer and Pitbull may have contributed to its comeback as well.

In writing to National Public Radio (NPR), Siedentopf says he was “very intrigued” by this online rebirth, and simply wanted to “pay the ultimate homage” to the song. The Namibian Desert, which is the oldest known desert in the world, seemed to be “the perfect spot” for the project, Siedentopf told NPR.

For those who wish to seek out this modern-day shrine to Toto before then, the Namib Desert stretches on for approximately 1,200 miles, so good luck. Although Siedentopf has posted a map to his installation on his webpage, he told NPR that it’s “supposed to be a bit like a treasure that only the most loyal of Toto fans can find.”

Amber LaBonte, a sophomore, studies English. She is a Copy Editor for Le Provocateur.

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