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

Ebola outbreak: RFA Argus arrival gives rise to hope

  • 30 October 2014
  • From the section Africa

The giant grey hull of RFA Argus brushed against the dockside in Freetown and within minutes the first white pickup trucks were being swung off its upper deck and ashore by crane.

The British ship is carrying an array of useful items for the fight against Ebola - from medicine to three cargo helicopters that will be used to reach some of the remoter corners of Sierra Leone.

It's 14 years since the British military arrived here to help end a gruesome civil war. At the time I remember standing, with the cheering crowds, watching Royal Marines being lowered from helicopters onto the white sandy beaches nearby.

That beach-front display was a largely symbolic moment, and in the broader scheme of things, so was the Argus's arrival on Thursday - a sign that Britain's much anticipated aid operation for Sierra Leone is finally gaining momentum, with the partial opening this week of the nearby Kerry Town facility.

Pick-up trucks being offloaded from RFA Argus
Shortly after docking 32 pick-up trucks were unloaded

"We're turning a corner," said Donal Brown, who is in charge of Britain's operations here.

Read full article Ebola outbreak: RFA Argus arrival gives rise to hope

Qualifications scandal divides South Africa

  • 29 October 2014
  • From the section Africa
Ellen Tshabalala
Ellen Tshabalala is alleged to have lied about her university qualifications

It might seem like a rather trivial scandal - something easily overlooked at a time when South Africa is mourning the violent death of its national football team captain and the credit rating agencies are circling overhead, poised to issue more warnings about the country's struggling economy.

But the mystery surrounding Ellen Tshabalala's academic qualifications demands attention.

Read full article Qualifications scandal divides South Africa

Pistorius sentencing: Relief as justice is served

  • 21 October 2014
  • From the section Africa
Oscar Pistorius and his uncle Arnold Pistorius at the high court in Pretoria, South Africa on 21 October 2014
Pistorius gave his uncle his expensive wristwatch for safekeeping

Oscar Pistorius seemed to be expecting it.

As Judge Thokosile Masipa said the words "five years" in prison, the athlete's face remained immobile and unreadable.

Read full article Pistorius sentencing: Relief as justice is served

Pistorius sentencing: Two interpretations of justice

  • 17 October 2014
  • From the section Africa
South African athlete Oscar Pistorius rests his head during his sentencing hearing at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, 17 October 2014
Defence lawyer Barry Roux said Oscar Pistorius was now financially ruined

Judge Thokozile Masipa must choose between two starkly different interpretations of justice, and of Oscar Pistorius himself, as she spends this weekend pondering what sentence to give the man she's already cleared of murder but found guilty of culpable homicide.

The athlete's lawyer, Barry Roux, used his final arguments on Friday to appeal to the judge's sense of humanity in urging her to reject a prison sentencefor a man he said was - beyond all doubt - genuinely remorseful, and desperate to make amends for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Read full article Pistorius sentencing: Two interpretations of justice

Pistorius sentence: Prison concerns and accusations

  • 16 October 2014
  • From the section Africa
Oscar Pistorius, gestures in the high court in Pretoria, South Africa on 16 October 2014
Oscar Pistorius's defence team say prison is unsafe for him, but many disagree

We got glimpses in court on Thursday both of the prison life Oscar Pistorius can expect if Judge Masipa chooses a custodial sentence for him, and of the rather abrasive characters who once were part of his social circle.

Called by the prosecution to give evidence, the acting director of South Africa's prison service, Zach Modise, acknowledged the presence of gangs and violence in the country's jails but declared that their facilities were world class.

Read full article Pistorius sentence: Prison concerns and accusations

Emotional day at Pistorius sentencing

  • 15 October 2014
  • From the section Africa
Oscar Pistorius (centre) accompanied by police officers as he leaves the high court in Pretoria
Pistorius faces up to 15 years in jail, although the judge may suspend the sentence or impose a fine

For what feels like the first time in this long legal process, the Steenkamp family took centre stage in courtroom D on Wednesday, and we got a powerful sense of the grief, confusion, health, financial worries and behind-the-scenes negotiations that have preoccupied them over the past 18 months.

On Tuesday, Reeva Steenkamp's mother, June, had been quoted in court by prosecutor Gerrie Nel as bitterly rejecting an offer of 375,000 rand ($34,000,£21,000) recently made by Oscar Pistorius as "blood money".

Read full article Emotional day at Pistorius sentencing

Pistorius sentence: Defence battles to avoid jail

  • 13 October 2014
  • From the section Africa
Oscar Pistorius talks with one of his defence lawyers in Pretoria, South Africa 13 Oct 2014
Oscar Pistorius (R) speaks to a member of his defence team on the first day of his sentencing

This was Oscar Pistorius's big chance to convince Judge Thokozile Masipa that he doesn't deserve to spend a day in prison for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

It seemed to go reasonably well for the defence.

Read full article Pistorius sentence: Defence battles to avoid jail

Pistorius sentence: Jail or Olympic training?

  • 13 October 2014
  • From the section Africa
Oscar Pistorius, rests after a training session in Pretoria, South Africa - 2007

South African athlete Oscar Pistorius has every reason to look uncertain as he returns to court this week in Pretoria.

His future is about to be untangled - and there is a bewildering range of possibilities that must surely now be dancing before his eyes.

Read full article Pistorius sentence: Jail or Olympic training?

Pistorius to Dewani: Murder trials in South Africa

  • 6 October 2014
  • From the section Africa
Shrien and Anni Dewani

UK businessman Shrien Dewani has formally pleaded not guilty to murdering his wife, Anni, on their honeymoon in South Africa in 2010. He appeared in court in the South African city of Cape Town after failing in a bid to prevent his extradition from the UK.

Mr Dewani's high-powered defence team got off to a brisk and unexpected start in Cape Town's High Court.

Read full article Pistorius to Dewani: Murder trials in South Africa

Birth of a Mugabe dynasty in Zimbabwe?

  • 29 September 2014
  • From the section Africa
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace attend a rally in Harare, 12 August 2014

The birth of a dynasty is not an easy thing to predict. But many Zimbabweans now seem preoccupied by the tantalising possibility that the Mugabes are seeking to join the list - admittedly a shrinking list - of families who have managed to pass the reins of power across the dinner table.

President Robert Mugabe is 90. His second wife, Grace, is 49.

Read full article Birth of a Mugabe dynasty in Zimbabwe?

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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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