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

Pistorius trial: South Africans still looking for finality

  • 14 September 2014
  • From the section Africa
Oscar Pistorius leaves on bail from the North Gauteng High Court on 12 September 2014 in Pretoria, South Africa.

It was not the ending many here had either hoped for or anticipated. Oscar Pistorius is neither guilty of murder, nor innocent of any wrongdoing.

It's not exactly a legal fudge. But it lacks the finality so many trial watchers seemed to crave.

Today, some South Africans are genuinely angry about the verdict - convinced the athlete was guilty of pre-meditated murder - while others seem more like frustrated sports fans heading home after watching a long, goalless draw.

Narrow gap

There is still, of course, the crucial matter of sentencing - and the very real possibility that Judge Thokosile Masipa will seek to make an example of a man whom, until now, she has favoured with a generous portion of reasonable doubt.

In the meantime, the legal pundits here - many of whom confidently predicted a murder verdict - are now either bitterly accusing the judge of not understanding the law, or polishing their knives in preparation for any appeal.

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Oscar Pistorius: Was it right to televise the trial?

  • 13 September 2014
  • From the section Africa

The televising of Oscar Pistorius's murder trial has done wonders for Professor James Grant's law class at Wits University in Johannesburg.

"If you were Oscar ... " said the professor, striding around the lecture theatre on a recent morning, and introducing yet another animated discussion on the athlete's defence strategy with more than a hundred enthusiastic students who have been following the case on a daily basis, and sometimes writing it up for homework.

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Judge Masipa's long journey to preside over Pistorius trial

  • 10 September 2014
  • From the section Africa
Judge Thokosile Masipa
Judge Masipa has shown a meticulous attention to detail and fairness

From her perch overlooking Courtroom GD, where Oscar Pistorius has been on trial since March, Judge Thokozile Masipa has often seemed a distant, silent, diminutive figure - peering down at the drama unfolding before her from behind thick glasses, her mouth only rarely curling into an unexpectedly warm smile.

From the beginning, her (largely male) critics have been quick to interpret her detachment as a sign that she's either out of her depth, or overly intimidated by the television cameras broadcasting her every gesture to a global audience.

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Oscar Pistorius trial: Sense of an ending

  • 9 August 2014
  • From the section Africa
Defence lawyer Barry Roux makes a point during closing arguments in the murder trial of South African Olympic and Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria August 8
Defence lawyer Barry Roux went on the offensive against the prosecution, accusing them of "manipulation"

Judge Thokozile Masipa smiled inscrutably from time to time. But she asked surprisingly few questions, and gave no hint as to which way she was leaning, as Oscar Pistorius's lawyer Barry Roux presented his final arguments in court on Friday.

Both prosecution and defence had already submitted their detailed written arguments to the judge. With no jury to sway, the last two days in court felt, in some ways, rather overblown.

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Oscar Pistorius trial: Nel covers all options

  • 7 August 2014
  • From the section Africa
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel in court, Pretoria, South Africa - 7 August 2014
Gerrie Nel is known as the "bull terrier" in court circles

It was an impressive display of sustained incredulity.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel, standing in courtroom GD for most of Thursday searched for new words - "mendacity", "deceitfulness", "a snowball" of lies - to describe Oscar Pistorius' version of events the night he killed Reeva Steenkamp.

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Central African Republic crisis: 'Lame-duck' president?

  • 1 August 2014
  • From the section Africa
Transitional President Catherine Samba Panza arrives at parliament in Bangui, CAR - May 2014
Catherine Samba-Panza, a former mayor of Bangui, took over as president in January

The Presidential Palace in the Central African Republic (CAR) - a collection of tired-looking white buildings set around a pot-holed central parade ground - sits on a gentle slope overlooking the centre of the capital, Bangui.

Years ago, during the rule of the self-proclaimed Emperor Bokassa, the palace was at the heart of an intimidating, highly centralised, all-powerful regime.

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CAR crisis: Meeting the rebel army chief

  • 29 July 2014
  • From the section Africa
Seleka fighters in Bambari, CAR - May 2014

On a dirt side-street between the deserted petrol station and the hospital in Bambari in the Central African Republic, five well-armed soldiers were standing guard outside the tall gates of what must once have been a rather grand colonial villa.

A few minutes earlier, I had received a rather brusque phone call from a man called Major General Joseph Zoundeiko, who wanted me to come and see him immediately.

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Central African Republic crisis: Silent majority held hostage

  • 28 July 2014
  • From the section Africa
A car on a road to Bambari in CAR - May 2014

Travelling into the countryside of the Central African Republic around Bambari is an unpredictable business at the best of times. Two punctures on the rutted dirt track delayed our first attempt.

We limped back to a tyre-repair shop in the town's dilapidated Muslim quarter, close to the spot where a suspected Christian fighter had been hacked to death by a mob.

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Central African Republic: Where rumours can kill in seconds

  • 26 July 2014
  • From the section Africa
French Sangaris troops patrol in an armoured personnel carrier (APC) as a schoolboy passes by, in Bangui, the Central African capital, on 13 July 2014.

The French soldier nearly tripped over the old man.

"I thought he was dead," he said, moments later, bending down to examine the skeleton-thin body lying naked in the dark debris of what the French patrol had assumed was an abandoned building on the outskirts of Bambari.

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Central African Republic: Fighting spreads like infection

  • 25 July 2014
  • From the section Africa
A boy being treated at the University Hospital in Bambari, CAR

Francoise Gerizapa scrunched her face into a fierce pout and then screamed once more - a chilling, sing-song whoop that filled the dark, crowded ward at Bambari's hospital in the Central African Republic (CAR).

Two nurses were holding Ms Gerizapa's shoulders as a third poured disinfectant into a large, rotting, bullet wound in the 43-year-old's lower leg.

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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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