Toto’s ‘Africa’ to play in Namib Desert for all eternity

Posted by Ishani Chetty on 15 January 2019

An art installation in the Namib Desert in Namibia, the oldest desert in the world, is playing the song ‘Africa’ by Toto on an endless loop that may last until the end of time.

Max Siedentopf, the 27-year-old Namibian-German artist who created the installation, which he called ‘Toto Forever’, placed it in an undisclosed location in the vast desert.

Siedentopf explains the idea behind the installation: ‘I set up a sound installation which pays tribute to probably the most popular song of the last four decades.’

Max Siedentopf/ Official website/ Toto Forever Installation

The installation consists of seven white stands upon which stand an MP3 player and six speakers, all attached to the device.

The MP3 player has only the song ‘Africa’ on it, playing on repeat. Powered by solar energy, the installation is equipped with solar batteries to ensure that the song plays ‘forever’.

Max Siedentopf/ Official website/ Toto Forever

In 2017, the hit single from 1982 was the most-streamed video on Youtube, with a staggering 440-million views.

Created by American band Toto, ‘Africa’ is renowned and loved the world over. It has featured in series, memes and talk shows, including a parody skit created by Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon on ‘Late Night with Jimmy Fallon’.

Siedentopf told BBC he chose the song as it represents Africa – no disagreements there.

‘I wanted to pay the song as the ultimate homage,’ he said.

There has been a mixed reaction to the new installation but the artist has taken it in his stride, acknowledging that everyone has their own opinions and that’s fine.

‘Some Namibians love it and some say it’s probably the worst sound installation ever. I think that’s a great compliment,’ Siedentopf said.

Max Siedentopf/ Official website/ Toto Forever exhibit

Siedentopf is hopeful that the installation will stand the test of time but is aware of the fact the desert conditions will doubtless have an impact on the exhibit.

‘Most parts of the installation were chosen to be as durable as possible, but I’m sure the harsh environment of the desert will devour the installation eventually.’

We can’t help but wonder what a scene it would be to climb over the crest of a sand dune and hear the song ‘Africa’ ringing out over the boundless sands, creating an ultimate African travel moment.


Max Siedentopf/ Official website/ undisclosed location of the Toto Forever exhibit.


Picture: Max Siedentopf/ Official Website / Toto Forever


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