Andrew Harding, Africa correspondent

Andrew Harding Africa correspondent

This is the home of my reports, updates and analysis from across the world’s liveliest continent

Central African Republic's road to anarchy

Men on a vehicle approaching an anti-balaka militia checkpoint on 2 March 2014 in Bangui
People fleeing the conflict approach a checkpoint run by anti-Balaka militiamen

On a map, the RN (Route Nationale) 2 looks like a rather important highway linking the central town of Sibut with the entire eastern half of the Central African Republic (CAR) and beyond.

If you want to drive from the capital, Bangui, towards South Sudan, Uganda and the Indian Ocean, then the RN2 is your only option - a vital artery for commerce and migration that runs through valleys and forests, past gold and diamond mines and dozens of major towns as it forges eastwards just north of the equator and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The reality is rather more underwhelming. A sow and two piglets interrupted our journey east of Sibut. We'd covered about 60km (37 miles) in three hours, grinding along a rutted dirt track hemmed in by thick forests and head-high grass.

The road to Bambari, CAR (July 2014)

'Hidden Horrors'

The pigs - sensibly avoiding the deeper ponds swamping the road - were frolicking in one of the smaller, rain-filled potholes that marked the path ahead like glistening brown cats-eyes.

Our car slid to another shuddering stop - spare tyres piled on the roof rack - and the pigs heaved themselves out of their afternoon bath and disappeared into the grass.

A Seleka fighter adjusts a broken guitar in a village between Bambari and Grimari in CAR on 31 May 2014
Conflict erupted when Seleka rebels seized power in March 2013
Men check a loaded car, in which trunk a young girl is seated, at an anti-balaka checkpoint in Bangui on 1 March 2014
About a quarter of the CAR's 4.6 million people have fled their homes

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How did Oscar Pistorius' defence fare?

Oscar Pistorius during his murder trial at the Pretoria High Court - 8 July 2014, Pretoria, South Africa.

Judge Thokozile Masipa stood up, bowed and walked stiffly out of courtroom GD; minutes later South African athlete Oscar Pistorius slipped away too, followed by his legal team.

No-one appeared to be smiling.

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Oscar Pistorius: A glimpse of what might have been

Oscar Pistorius on trial in Pretoria, South Africa, 1 July
Oscar Pistorius in court on Tuesday

Trials are, necessarily, about past events. And yet in court today, we were treated to a tantalising glimpse of the future Oscar Pistorius might once have had.

It wafted through the courtroom like a patch of unexpected sunlight, before prosecutor Gerrie Nel - true to form - marched over and yanked down the blinds.

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Kenya's wrestle with insecurity

A security guard walks past empty sun loungers facing the Indian Ocean at a holiday resort in the town of Diani, south of Mombasa, on the coast of Kenya Thursday 22 May 2014

It was a reasonably thorough body search. "How did I do?" said the Kenyan security guard afterwards, fishing, unexpectedly, for a compliment.

"Was it properly done? If so, please tell your country it is safe to come here…"

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Peter Greste represents all journalists

Journalists protesting in Nairobi, Kenya, in February about the case of the al-Jazeera journalists detained in Egypt

I first ran into journalist Peter Greste in a sandstorm in northern Afghanistan in 2001.

We were both staying in the same crowded, shabby house, trying to make sense of the fighting nearby, and clinging on to a few home-comforts - something at which Peter, with his roll-ups, his music and his well-honed ability to put the stresses of the job to one side over a few beers, excelled.

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Zulu - the film which inspired UK and South Africa

Screen grab from Zulu
Zulu was Michael Caine's first major film

At the foot of a steep hillside lined with dry grass and littered with grey-brown boulders, Alistair Lamont was trying his best to imitate the sound of 4,000 Zulu warriors approaching over the ridge.

"Mzeeeeee," said Mr Lamont, in a gruff baritone, before confidently declaring that "was the sound that Michael Caine heard".

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South Africa's World Cup advice to Brazil

A South African football fan - May 2010

Four years after a giant orange stadium appeared on their land, the inhabitants of Matsafeni village outside Nelspruit in South Africa say they are still waiting for their World Cup legacy.

"They lied to us and betrayed us," said Imaan Milanzi, a community liaison officer, pointing to a muddy hole in the ground surrounded by rubbish, bushes and banana plants.

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Marikana : Hunger, fear and defiance

Striking miners hold sticks as they dance and sing during a protest against their labour conditions, in the Wonderkop stadium in Marikana, South Africa, on 14 May 2014

Which will win: Hunger, fear or defiance?

On the dusty plains north of Johannesburg, a gruelling battle is taking place in the world's biggest platinum mining community, as the longest, most destructive strike in South African history enters its fifth month.

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Oscar Pistorius judge not swayed by court theatrics

Oscar Pistorius leaves North Gauteng High Court after the judge ordered that he should undergo mental evaluation on May 14, 2014 in Pretoria, South Africa.

Oscar Pistorius appeared relaxed in court as the judge told him to report next Monday morning to Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital - a grand, old, red-brick building on the edge of Pretoria.

He'll be treated as an outpatient, spending each weekday being evaluated by three experts - one from the defence, and two appointed by the state - before returning to court on 30 June.

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About Andrew

Andrew has been Africa correspondent since 2009, covering the continent's highs and lows - from the World Cup, Africa's economic boom, and the literary treasures of Timbuktu, to the pirates of Somalia, the conflict in Ivory Coast, and the struggles of Zimbabwe.

He has spent twenty years as a foreign correspondent, based in the former Soviet Union, Africa, and Asia, and reported on the 1993 parliamentary rebellion in Moscow, two Chechen wars, the Asian tsunami in 2004, and conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Burma, Congo, Sudan, Liberia and beyond.

Andrew was born in the UK, grew up in Belgium and at boarding school. He is married with three children.

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