U2's songs lyrics written about Africa and its people

Bono, the lead singer of U2, has long been an impassioned advocate for Africa, a commitment that has significantly shaped his and the band's endeavors over the years. This deep-seated affinity for the continent is rooted in his profound concern for social justice and human rights, particularly in addressing the challenges faced by African nations. Bono's love for Africa has manifested through various initiatives and collaborations that aim to raise awareness and provide support for urgent issues such as poverty, disease, and political instability.

A notable expression of this commitment is seen in U2's music and lyrics. Songs like "Where the Streets Have No Name" and "Bullet the Blue Sky" are reflections of Bono's experiences and observations in Africa, encapsulating themes of struggle, injustice, and the resilience of the human spirit. Beyond their music, Bono and U2 have been actively involved in advocacy and fundraising. Bono co-founded the ONE Campaign and (RED), initiatives that focus on combating AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and extreme poverty in Africa. These efforts have mobilized public support and secured funding and policy commitments from governments and private entities.

bono in africa

Moreover, Bono's engagements with political leaders and appearances at high-profile events, such as the Live 8 concert, have been instrumental in bringing African issues to the forefront of global discourse. He has consistently used his platform to call for debt relief, fair trade practices, and increased aid for African countries, influencing policy decisions and public opinion.

U2's concerts often serve as platforms for advocacy, where visuals and messages about African issues are integrated into their performances, further amplifying their humanitarian message. Bono's personal visits to African countries, interacting with local communities and leaders, demonstrate his genuine commitment to understanding and advocating for the continent's needs and aspirations.

In essence, Bono's love for Africa is a multifaceted endeavor, extending from U2's artistic expression to significant political and humanitarian activism. This enduring commitment highlights the potential of art and celebrity influence in addressing global challenges and fostering a sense of shared responsibility and action.

Here's some songs with lyrics that thematically tie to Africa. 

"Ordinary Love," a non-album track by U2, holds a special place in the band's discography for its role in promoting the film "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom." This song was intricately crafted to complement the film's narrative, which tells the poignant and powerful story of Nelson Mandela's journey from his early years as a political activist to his long imprisonment and eventual rise to the presidency of South Africa.

The track's lyrical themes of resilience, love, and the struggle for freedom resonate deeply with the spirit of Mandela's life and the broader fight against apartheid. U2's connection with Mandela's story and the anti-apartheid movement dates back to the 1980s, reflecting their long-standing commitment to human rights and social justice.

"Ordinary Love" captures this dedication, blending emotive lyrics with a melody that underscores the film's dramatic and inspirational storyline. The band's involvement in the project not only highlights their ability to connect music with significant historical events but also underscores their role as artists who consistently engage with and reflect upon the socio-political issues of their time.

Speaking of apartheid:

Silver and Gold

A stirring anti-apartheid song by U2, is a powerful musical protest against the oppressive regime in South Africa during the late 20th century.

 Collaboratively written with musician Little Steven, the song is an emotive outcry against the brutal system of apartheid that inflicted immense suffering upon the South African people. The track's raw energy and poignant lyrics encapsulate the spirit of resistance and the demand for justice and equality. It reflects U2's long-standing commitment to political and social issues, using their art as a platform to raise awareness and inspire change. 

The song's title, "Silver and Gold," symbolically contrasts the material wealth and exploitation associated with the apartheid regime against the invaluable human rights denied to many South Africans. This song was not just a musical piece but a part of a larger movement, contributing to the global pressure on the South African government to end its discriminatory policies.

"Silver and Gold" stands as a testament to the power of music to cross borders and unite people in solidarity against injustice, embodying the band's enduring legacy as advocates for human rights and equality.

Where the Streets Have No Name

Inspired by Bono's experiences in Africa during the early 1980s, ''Streets'' offers a unique juxtaposition of themes reflecting U2's origins in Belfast, Ireland, and the complex socio-political landscape of Africa. 

This song's lyrical content skillfully intertwines the band's personal history with the broader narrative of conflict and division, drawing parallels between the religious and sectarian divides in Belfast and the struggles witnessed in Africa. 

In Belfast, where one's religion and associated identity could often be inferred from the neighborhood they lived in, U2 members experienced firsthand the deep-rooted tensions and divisions that shaped their early lives and perspectives. When Bono ventured into Africa, he was confronted with different but equally profound challenges and disparities, which deeply influenced his worldview and artistic expression. 

This song captures the essence of these experiences, highlighting the universal themes of division, identity, and the longing for unity and peace. Through its lyrics, the track not only reflects on the band's personal journey from the streets of Belfast but also extends to embrace a global perspective, resonating with the common struggles and aspirations of people across different continents. 

This song, from How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, delves into the complex and often imbalanced relationship between Western countries and developing nations, particularly in Africa. The song's lyrics poignantly address this dynamic from the perspective of those living in the developing world, underscoring the stark contrast between the West's emphasis on long-term socioeconomic strategies and the immediate, pressing needs for basic sustenance in less affluent nations. Through vivid imagery and emotive storytelling, Bono captures the essence of a relationship characterized by unequal exchanges and unmet promises. 

The metaphor of 'crumbs from your table' powerfully symbolizes the minimal aid and attention that wealthier nations often extend, which, although beneficial, is insufficient and sometimes patronizing. 

The song's verses and chorus convey a sense of urgency and a call for deeper understanding and meaningful support, rather than superficial or temporary solutions. By highlighting this disparity, U2 not only critiques the inadequacies of global aid systems but also encourages listeners to reflect on the broader implications of international relations and our collective responsibility towards global equity and justice. "Crumbs from Your Table" thus stands as a poignant commentary on the realities of global inequality, showcasing U2's enduring commitment to shedding light on pressing social issues through their music.

Don't Give Up (Africa) 

 A compelling cover by Bono and Alicia Keys, originally recorded by Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush. 

This rendition breathes new life into the classic song, transforming it into a powerful anthem for hope and perseverance in the face of Africa's ongoing challenges. The collaboration between Bono, known for his longstanding commitment to African issues, and Alicia Keys, an artist equally passionate about social justice, infuses the song with a deep sense of empathy and solidarity. Their version maintains the emotional depth and resonance of the original, while also bringing a fresh perspective that highlights the struggles and resilience of the African continent. 

The choice of this particular song, with its message of not giving in to despair, aligns perfectly with Bono and Keys' humanitarian efforts. It serves as a call to action, urging the global community to remain committed to supporting Africa in its journey towards stability, health, and prosperity. The merging of their distinctive voices in this track not only creates a beautiful musical piece but also symbolizes the potential for collaboration and unity in addressing global issues. "Don't Give Up (Africa)" stands as a testament to the power of music as a tool for awareness, inspiration, and change, showcasing how artists can use their platforms to make a significant impact on the world.

Soon lyrics by U2

Soon lyrics by U2

As found on the U2360 Live From The Rose Bowl which was released in 2010.


Soon, soon
Soon, soon
Soon, soon

Sing yourself on down the street
Sing yourself right off your feet
Sing yourself away from victory
And from defeat

Sing yourself with fife and drum
Sing yourself to overcome
The thought that someone has lost
And someone else has won

Soon, soon
Soon, soon
Soon, soon

Ordinary Love lyrics by U2 - song from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Nelson Mandela's "Ordinary Love" lyrics by U2

'Ordinary Love' song lyrics by U2

U2 have written and recorded a song titled "Ordinary Love" for the film, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom.

The film is based on  Nelson Mandela's autobiography of the same name.

U2 have been long term supporters of the people of South Africa, the break down of apartheid and of course Nelson Mandela so it's no surprise they've lent their song to the movie.

U2 have written a couple of songs for Africa - Silver and Gold and very famously Where the Streets Have No Name.

Of the song's meaning itself Bono noted "It's a plea for common decency among the people who've been oppressed and it's a plea for common decency in a marriage as it starts to fall apart.

In 2014 U2 won their second Golden Globe for Best Original Song from a Motion Picture for this song.

In 2003 they won for song "The Hands That Build America".


The sea wants to kiss the golden shore
The sunlight warms your skin
All the beauty that's been lost before wants to find us again

I can't fight you any more, it's you I'm fighting for
The sea throws rock together but time leaves us polished stones

We can't fall any further
If we can't feel ordinary love
And we can't reach any higher,
if we can't deal with ordinary love

Birds fly high in the summer sky and rest on the breeze.
The same wind will take care of you and I.
We'll build our house in the trees.

Your heart is on my sleeve
Did you put it there with a magic marker?
For years I would believe that the would couldn't wash it away


We can't fall any further
If we can't feel ordinary love
and we can't reach any higher

Are we tough enough for ordinary love?

We can't fall any further,if
We can't feel ordinary love
And we can't reach any higher,
if we can't deal with ordinary love

ordinary love mandela u2 art