I know, it's surprising, but in 2012, I shortchanged this song.
In my original post, I talked about the lyrical gymnastics of the 2nd verse of the song. They are great, but what is greater is the story of the composition of this love letter to a continent. David Paich wrote the lyrics, which came to him in a flash, and initial brassy flutey synth intro. Jeff Porcaro wrote the rest of the music - and it was a long process..... to write a love letter to a continent.
You see, the song is not romantic. It is about Africa. And it was their biggest hit - even as others got more critical acclaim - and it is still beloved.
A sound installation in the Namib Desert in Africa plays this song on an infinite loop. It is run by solar batteries and designed to be durable against the environment, and although the desert landscape will eventually swallow it whole, it will, until then, play for eternity.