Cecil Rhodes monument: A necessary anger?

  • 11 April 2015
  • From the section Africa
Students attack the defaced statue of British mining magnate and politician, Cecil John Rhodes, as it is removed by a crane from its position at the University of Cape Town on April 9, 2015, in Cape Town
Cecil Rhodes was a British diamond magnate, politician and unapologetic colonialist

It all started with some excrement.

One night last month, a student called Chumani Maxwele scooped some poo from one of the portable toilets that dot the often turbulent, crowded townships on the windswept plains outside Cape Town.

The next morning, Mr Maxwele took his package to the foot of nearby Table Mountain - and to the imposing grounds of one of South Africa's oldest and most prestigious universities.

Overlooking the rugby field in the centre of the campus is an old bronze statue of a white man. He is in an armchair, one hand on his chin, the other holding some paper - and he is sitting forwards, like a man startled by something he has seen on television.

Mr Maxwele promptly set about smearing the statue - and in the process, ignited a furious and fascinating row about history, race and equality.

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Kenya's stoic survivors defy al-Shabab

  • 5 April 2015
  • From the section Africa
Some of the Garissa University students who were rescued comfort each other at the Garissa military camp on 3 April 2015
Some of the Garissa University students who were rescued comfort each other

"Now I'm okay," was about all Cynthia Terotich could manage, as she sat in the casualty ward in Garissa's hospital.

She had been contemplating the 50 hours she'd just spent crushed inside a tiny cupboard, hidden beneath a pile of clothes, with nothing but a bottle of body lotion to try to quench a raging thirst.

Read full article Kenya's stoic survivors defy al-Shabab

What does Buhari victory mean for Africa?

  • 2 April 2015
  • From the section Africa
General Buhari
General Buhari faces big challenges

After the anxiety and drama of the past few days in Nigeria, it is tempting to get carried away by the impact of this ballot - what it represents for both Africa's largest democracy and for those countries on the continent still wrestling with the notion that power can change hands without the world coming to an end.

The significance of General Muhammadu Buhari's victory should certainly not be underestimated.

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The man admired by presidents and warlords

  • 29 March 2015
  • From the section Magazine
Mark Doyle in Rwanda at the time of the genocide

Road blocks can be tricky things - not least for journalists. Grenades brandished at car windows on narrow roads. Bored kids with big guns looking to make a point.

Sometimes a piece of official paper will get you through. Or cigarettes. Or lots of smiles. But often - and without wanting to sound too melodramatic - the difference between safe passage and something much nastier can boil down to a word, a name.

Read full article The man admired by presidents and warlords

Ebola survivor 'hiding' from community

  • 3 March 2015
  • From the section Africa

Siannie Beyan stood on the stage with the other Ebola survivors in Monrovia's City Hall, singing a short, joyful hymn, and trying to hold onto a smile.

As the crisis fades here in Liberia - no new confirmed infections for 10 days and counting - there is a tangible sense of relief.

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Liberia Ebola doctor: 'We're going to win very soon'

  • 2 March 2015
  • From the section Africa
Doctor Mosoka Fallah
Doctor Mosoka Fallah says Liberia defied predictions that 500,000 people would die

Doctor Mosoka Fallah - a stout, gruff, profoundly earnest man - stood outside a small house on the outskirts of Monrovia in Liberia wondering if this is where it would all end.

"This is the last stretch, the last mile. There's a lot of pressure on us. If they all go for 21 days without symptoms then that could be the end of Ebola," said the 44-year-old Harvard-trained doctor, watching his colleagues take the temperatures of a dozen women and children gathered on the porch.

Read full article Liberia Ebola doctor: 'We're going to win very soon'

South Africa cricket: Not just a 'white sport'?

  • 24 February 2015
  • From the section Africa
A boy practicing his bowl at a South African cricket club
The Malekutu Cricket Academy has had constant problems attracting funding

It takes a certain stubborn devotion to play cricket in Malekutu, an isolated rural village in the hills not far from South Africa's border with Mozambique.

There is no pitch, just a stretch of tattered carpet in the middle of an overgrown football field; tin cans balanced on a cinder block take the place of a wicket, and the locals are hardly enthusiastic.

Read full article South Africa cricket: Not just a 'white sport'?

South Africa parliament ruckus is a noisy new low

  • 14 February 2015
  • From the section Africa
Members of Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) (in red) clash with security officials after being ordered out of the chamber during President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation address in Cape Town on 12 February 2015
Is this the State of the Nation? White-clad security guards bundle Julius Malema's deputies out of the chamber

The clouds were sliding, majestically, down the slopes of Table Mountain.

There were brass bands outside the parliament below. A red carpet on the cobbles.

Read full article South Africa parliament ruckus is a noisy new low

Eugene de Kock parole: Has justice been done in South Africa?

  • 30 January 2015
  • From the section Africa
Eugene de Kock
Former police colonel Eugene de Kock was in charge of the notorious Vlakplaas police unit

It is not easy to find Vlakplaas - the small farm where some of South Africa's most notorious apartheid-era murders took place.

On a dirt road about 20km (12 miles) west of the capital, Pretoria, I pulled over and waved down a passing pickup truck to ask for directions.

Read full article Eugene de Kock parole: Has justice been done in South Africa?

Fana Mokoena's dilemma: Interstellar or revolution in South Africa?

  • 29 January 2015
  • From the section Africa
Publicity shot for Interstellar
Fana Mokoena missed out on a role in the hit Interstellar

Can you save the world, and still keep your day job? I remember Bob Geldof grumbling about that conundrum to me a decade ago in a dusty corner of Ethiopia.

Now South African actor Fana Mokoena is facing a similar dilemma.

Read full article Fana Mokoena's dilemma: Interstellar or revolution in South Africa?