Paul Simon traveled to South Africa in 1985 and recorded with various local musicians, gathering tracks that would be used on the Graceland
album. While he was there, he met with the leader of a vocal group called Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and he flew them to London to record the song "Homeless
." Simon and the group bonded at these sessions, and when Paul was finishing the album in New York, he brought them in to back him on his Saturday Night Live
appearance on May 10, 1986. Also in town for the show were some of the musicians he recorded with in South Africa, including guitarist Ray Phiri, bass player Bakithi Kumalo and drummer Isaac Mtshali. This was quite an experience for these musicians, who lived under the racist Apartheid rule in their home country. Getting picked up in limos driven by white men was a culture shock. When they asked about visiting Central Park, Simon had to explain that they didn't need a permit - they could just walk in.
The album was originally scheduled for release that spring, but was pushed back to August. Simon figured, "Well, we're all here, we might as well do another track." Simon worked up the song with Ladysmith leader Joseph Shabalala, and they recorded it at the Hit Factory in New York.