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Live Reporting

Emmanuel Onyango and Evelyne Musambi

All times stated are UK

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  1. Nanny by day, punch needle embroider by night

    South Africa's Nomvula Mxobane was introduced to punch needling by her employer Andel Olivier.

    Together, they now run a thriving small business using social media as their market place.

    Their Julie Baby Punch business has attracted other women who are learning how to punch to earn living.

    "It's like we are teaching other people you must do things with your hands. There's no job but you can create a job by yourself," Joana Banda one of the women punching says.

    The business was born during South Africa's first Covid-19 hard lockdown.

    "I was just sitting doing nothing ... I tried and got there and I loved it, it was not so easy but when I start to do it I see oh this is easy I can do it and then I go for it," Ms Mxobane says.

    Other nannies in the neighbourhood have joined her and they have secured big orders from interior designers with help from their employers.

    Here is her full interview with the BBC's Focus on Africa:

    Video content

    Video caption: The women making a business and creating jobs out of punch needling in South Africa
  2. Mixed reactions to Kenyan actor chance meet with president

    Social media users in Kenya have been giving mixed reactions to a footage of actor Pascal Tokodi having a chance meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta.

    In the footage shared on social media by the actor, he is seen slowing down his car and passing greetings to President Kenyatta - who was having a stroll near his official residence in the capital, Nairobi.

    It shows the president unaccompanied by his security detail.

    The actor then "seized the moment" and asked the president to watch a popular television show, Selina, that he co-stars. The president responded to the affirmative.

    View more on twitter

    Some social media commentators are critical of the actor, saying the chance encounter could have been better utilised.

    "You meet the PRESIDENT taking a walk and all you want him to do for you is to watch you on Selina Maisha Magic East? Kenyan youths have their priorities upside down and they want the PRESIDENT to appoint them into Government positions yet he knows they can't even pitch in 10secs," Abraham Mutai tweeted.

    Others said they saw nothing wrong with the actor promoting his show.

    "Pascal tokodi is a lead actor on selina, the show pays his bills, he met the president for less than 10seconds....he asked the president to watch selina and support his hustle, absolutely nothing wrong with that," Chege Githinji wrote.

  3. Why are there so many power cuts in South Africa?

    Alan Kasujja

    BBC Africa Daily

    Power Lines in South Africa.

    Power cuts can be such a pain, right?

    But, for many South Africans, they have become a part of day-to-day life: something that you’d expect, rather than something you’d be surprised by.

    “It’s got such a negative impact, especially in businesses”, says Tsholofelo Moeketsane, who has just started a new food business in Soweto, Johannesburg.

    “I cook, I use a lot of electricity. So, this on-and-off thing is quite frustrating, to say the least.”

    And the problem’s got so bad, that even President Cyril Ramaphosa has had to take action.

    In his State of the Nation address earlier this month, he confirmed the problem would persist for at least five years.

    But he also announced that his government would be buying emergency power from the private sector.

    So, why exactly is electricity giving South Africans such a headache?

    That’s what I’ve been looking into for Thursday’s edition of Africa Daily.

    Subscribe to the show on BBC Sounds or wherever you get your podcasts.

  4. Kenya bars runners from Tanzania marathon over virus fears

    Athletes at a marathon in Nairobi
    Image caption: Kenyan athletes have dominated previous editions of the race

    Kenya has denied its athletes clearance to compete at the Kilimanjaro Marathon in Tanzania over concerns about the Covid-19 pandemic.

    The IAAF-recognised race will be held early Sunday morning at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa.

    Kenyan athletes have dominated previous editions of the race.

    In a statement, Athletics Kenya urged "all athletes not to travel to Tanzania for the event".

    Tanzania has not been sharing data on the coronavirus situation in the country and until recently had been downplaying the pandemic.

    The World Health Organization early this week urged Tanzania to start reporting coronavirus cases and share its data.

    Read more:

  5. Ghana police shut LGBT centre in Accra

    A person carries an LGBT flag
    Image caption: Ghana still criminalises same-sex relations

    Ghanaian police have shut a LGBT resource centre that was recently opened in the capital, Accra, following a public outcry.

    "We no longer have access to our safe space and our safety is being threatened. We call on all human rights organizations, and allies to speak out against these attacks and hate crimes we are being subjected to," the LGBT+ Rights Ghana group said on Twitter.

    View more on twitter

    Rights groups, including National Coalition for Proper Human Sexual Rights and Family Values and the Ghana Catholic Bishops' Conference (GCBC), have been calling on the government to close the centre.

    The centre was opened with a fundraiser attended by a number of EU and foreign diplomats.

    Photos of the opening were widely circulated, eliciting mixed reactions.

    Ghana is one of 32 countries in Africa that still criminalise same-sex relations, according to the latest report by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA).

  6. Moderna to test Covid shot for South African strain

    BBC World Service

    A health workerprepares a Moderna coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine

    The US company that produces the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine says it's ready to test a booster shot to target a variant of the virus first discovered in South Africa .

    Early studies showed that its original vaccine - which is approved in the US and EU - is less protective against this strain, which has now been detected in at least 40 countries.

    The company says it's ready to do human trials with several different strategies to see what gives more protection - an additional booster to the original vaccine, combining the booster with the original, or giving two separate variant-specific vaccines.

    Moderna says the new trials will also monitor the immune responses of people already vaccinated and those receiving their first dose of the vaccine.

    More on this topic:

  7. Thursday's wise words

    Our African proverb of the day:

    Quote Message: When the chicken dares a mongoose for a fight, think twice." from A Samia proverb sent by Martin Namudiero in Hakati, Kenya.
    A Samia proverb sent by Martin Namudiero in Hakati, Kenya.
    A drawing of a chicken

    Click here to send us your African proverbs.

  8. Video content

    Video caption: Kenya: A sustainable solution to locust swarms?

    An NGO is training and paying communities in Kenya to catch locusts, so they can be turned into animal feed.

  9. Scroll down for Wednesday's stories

    We’ll be back on Thursday

    That's all from BBC Africa Live for now. Keep up-to-date with what's happening across the continent by listening to the Africa Today podcast or checking the BBC News website.

    A reminder of the wise words of the day:

    Quote Message: The hyena feeds on its owner." from An Ndebele proverb sent by Mhlomuli Ncube in Zimbabwe
    An Ndebele proverb sent by Mhlomuli Ncube in Zimbabwe

    Click here to send us your African proverbs.

    And we leave you with this shot of a residential estate in Nigeria's city of Lagos.

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  10. South Africa unveils 'toughest' budget

    Vumani Mkhize

    BBC Africa Business

    Lobby groups protest ahead of the mid-term budget at Cape Town Parliament
    Image caption: Lobby groups protest ahead of the mid-term budget at parliament in Cape Town

    South Africa’s Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has delivered what has been described as the toughest budget speech since the fall of apartheid in 1994.

    Faced with record unemployment, a shrinking economy coupled with the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr Mboweni sought to allay fears about the prospects of Africa’s most industrialised economy.

    “We owe a lot of money to a lot of people," Mr Mboweni said, highlighting the country’s escalating debt burden - which is set to rise to 90% of GDP by 2025.

    The task of balancing the budget is made even harder by a $15bn (£10bn) shortfall in tax revenue collection, the biggest on record.

    The good news for ordinary South Africans is that there will be no additional taxes this year.

    In fact, tax brackets have been increased by 5% - the idea is that will put money directly into people’s pockets, and help stimulate economic recovery.

    In the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr Mboweni allocated $700m for the procurement of vaccines over the next two years.

    On the public sector wage bill – flagged by ratings agencies and international lenders as unsustainable – Mr Mboweni didn’t reveal much.

    He said that government was working with organised labour to achieve fair compensation.

    Opposition parties have criticised Mr Mboweni’s speech, stating it provided no clear strategy regarding how to reduce the country’s 32% jobless rate, or how to grow the economy.

  11. Forty feared drown crossing Mediterranean Sea

    BBC World Service

    More than 40 people are feared to have drowned when a boat loaded with migrants ran into trouble after setting out from Libya.

    UN officials said that after 15 hours at sea the vessel started taking on water.

    A merchant ship rescued nearly 80 of the passengers, but dozens lost their lives during what was described as a difficult and delicate operation.

    Among the missing is the mother of a baby who was brought ashore on the Italian island of Lampedusa.

  12. African designers open Milan Fashion Week

    BBC World Service

    The five Fabiola Manirakiza from Burundi, Claudia Gisele Ntsama from Cameroon, the Senegalese Mokodu Fall, Joy Meribe of Nigeria and the Moroccan Karim Daoudi a
    Image caption: (L-R) Karim Daoudi, Mokodu, Claudia, Frida and Meribe

    Five African-born designers have opened the Milan Fashion Week, a first for Italy's most prestigious couture show.

    The co-founder of the collective "Made in Italy", Michelle Ngonmo, called the event, which was pre-recorded because of the coronavirus pandemic, a first step towards a more equal society.

    She acknowledged the debt owed to the Black Lives Matter movement, but said the five designers she had picked had demonstrated that the "Made in Italy" label was not a question of skin colour but of know-how.

    The five - Fabiola Manirakiza from Burundi, Claudia Gisele Ntsama from Cameroon, the Senegalese Mokodu Fall, Joy Meribe of Nigeria and the Moroccan Karim Daoudi - all learnt some of their skills in Africa but are now naturalised Italian citizens.

    Previously, the presentation of the collections of black designers was confined to Afro Fashion Week, which launched in Milan with a show in 2016.

    Ms Ngonmo was featured on the BBC's documentary Being Black in Italy.

  13. Ethiopian UN peacekeepers fear for life

    One of the 15 Ethiopian UN peacekeepers who on Monday refused to board a flight home after their tour in South Sudan ended, has told the BBC that they are afraid for their lives.

    The soldier, who asked to remain anonymous, is from the Tigrayan ethnic group.

    He said that since war broke out last November in Ethiopia's northern region of Tigray, Tigrayan soldiers have been discriminated against and targeted.

    "They disarmed us, announced a curfew after 10pm, and we were being watched over by our colleagues from the Amhara and Oromo ethnic group," he said.

    Another soldier told the BBC that they were also forbidden from watching any other TV channels apart from government ones.

    "We totally lost our freedoms," he said.

    On Tuesday a senior Ethiopian military official accused the 15 soldiers, who were part of a group of 169, of "tarnishing the image of the army and the country".

    "[They] were screaming and lying on the ground at Juba airport to cause chaos," said Major Gen Mohammed Tessema.

    He also accused the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, which is providing protection to the 15 soldiers, of "spreading disinformation":

    View more on twitter

    More on the Tigray crisis:

  14. Video content

    Video caption: Edwin Ikhuoria: Ghana's excitement at getting Covax vaccines

    The programme aims to ensure that Covid-19 vaccines are shared fairly among rich and poorer nations.

  15. Video content

    Video caption: Namaste Wahala: Does the real-life mirror the film?

    Do real-life couples face the same difficulties as those depicted in the Bollywood-Nollywood crossover?

  16. CAR army offensive recovers territory

    BBC World Service

    A Rwandan peace-keeper from the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) patrols the road
    Image caption: Rwandan soldiers have provided key support to government forces

    The prime minister of the Central African Republic says its forces have recaptured Bossangoa, the stronghold of the former president, François Bozizé, who's accused of leading an uprising that has seized more than half the country.

    Mr Bozize, who denies controlling the rebels, fled CAR in 2013 after being overthrown by mainly Muslim rebels.

    He returned just over a year ago to stand as a candidate in December's presidential election but was disbarred because of allegations of murder and torture.

    His current whereabouts are unknown.

    The latest advance is a further indication that a counter-offensive led by foreign troops chiefly from Rwanda and Russia is turning the tide of the campaign.

    Read more:

  17. Zimbabwe VP denies sex scandal allegations

    Zimbabwe Vice-President Kembo Mohadi has fended off accusations of sexual impropriety in a press briefing.

    He said he was a victim of hacking and voice cloning after an online newspaper published lurid phone call recordings with several women allegedly including a subordinate.

    Barely audible and behind a face mask, the 71-year-old told reporters that the recordings were concocted and that he was innocent of the allegations.

    “I am innocent and a victim of political machinations being peddled through hacking and voice cloning."

    He added that the allegations were not only false but choreographed to soil his image as a national leader.

    The government spokesman shared a video of Mr Mohadi's statement.

    View more on twitter

    In a series of phone calls published by local media, a man is heard arranging for sex including in his government office and a hotel.

    The Women’s Coalition, a rights group, has petitioned the state Zimbabwe Gender Commission to investigate possible illicit relations with subordinates and sexual harassment within the office of the vice-president.

    The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum voiced concern about the allegations and a culture of abuse of office and power by a public official for sexual advantage.

    The main opposition called for his resignation.

    Mr Mohadi was appointed one of two vice-presidents in 2017 following the ousting of former leader Robert Mugabe.