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

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.

Within an hour, the court had been stripped of its automated television cameras, and prosecutor Gerrie Nel - clad now in an incongruously cuddly jumper - was busy helping his colleagues clear away the paraphernalia of 39 days of testimony, tears and confrontation.

The defence and prosecution teams now have a month between them to finish sifting through the evidence collected on the witness stand - its creaking, shabby seat now bearing testimony in its own way to all those frayed nerves - and to weave dozens of strands into compelling, but competing legal arguments that will be presented to the judge on 7 and 8 August.

So how did Oscar Pistorius and his expensive legal team perform?

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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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Andrew added analysis to:

Oscar Pistorius ordered to undergo mental evaluation

Two days ago, Oscar Pistorius told me the prosecution's demand that he undergo further psychiatric tests was "a joke". His defence lawyer was practically spitting with indignation in court as he argued against it.

But today - after hearing Judge Masipa's thorough, detailed ruling - all sides seemed to accept, or at least pretend to accept, that she had a point and that another long delay in this already extended trial would not be a disaster.

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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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