Scatterlings Of Africa

Album: Scatterlings (1982)
Charted: 44
  • songfacts ®
  • This enigmatic song was written by (White Zulu) Johnny Clegg. It contains a double entendre in the sense that the entire human species is believed to have originated in Africa, from whence the different races of man evolved and spread to the Four Corners of the Earth. It is also a commentary on the poverty experienced by most blacks under Apartheid.

    Phelamanga, the road to which we are all (hopefully) on, is a mythical place. Until the coming of the White Man there was no written Zulu language, but it may be translated loosely as the place where the lies end.
  • The song was the only UK hit for the British-born Clegg and his band Juluka. As with many of Clegg's songs, it is written partly in Zulu. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2
  • This was used in the 1988 movie Rain Man, which won the Oscar for Best Picture. The song appears near the beginning of the film in a scene where Charlie (Tom Cruise) finds out that his father is dead.
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Comments: 1

  • Christopher from Evanston, Il, UsaLyrics from

    Scatterlings of Africa

    Copper sun sinking low
    Scatterlings and fugitives
    Hooded eyes and weary brows
    Seek refuge in the night

    They are the scatterlings of Africa
    Each uprooted one
    On the road to Phelamanga
    Beneath the copper sun

    And I love the scatterlings of Africa
    Each and every one
    In their hearts a burning hunger
    Beneath the copper sun

    Broken wall, bicycle wheel
    African sun forging steel, singing
    Magic machine cannot match
    Human being human being
    African idea -- make the future clear

    They are the scatterlings of Africa
    Each uprooted one
    On the road to Phelamanga
    Beneath the copper sun

    And for the scatterlings of Africa
    The journey has begun
    Future find their hungry eyes
    Beneath the copper sun

    Ancient bones from Olduvai
    Echoes of the very first cry
    "Who made me, here and why? --
    Beneath this copper sun."

    My very first beginnings
    Beneath the copper sky
    Lie deeply buried
    In the dust of Olduvai

    And we are scatterlings of Africa
    Both you and I
    We are on the road to Phelamanga
    Beneath a copper sky

    And we are scatterlings of Africa
    On a journey to the stars
    Far below we leave forever
    Dreams of what we were

    Hawu beke Mama-ye! Mama-ye!
    In the beginning
    Beneath the copper sky
    Ancient bones

    In the dust of Olduvai
    Who made us, here, and why
    Scatterlings of Africa (repeat and fade)
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