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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

What MPs' scuffles reveal about South Africa's democracy

  • 14 November 2014
  • From the section Africa
Badges showing the portraits of former South African president Nelson Mandela and current South African president Jacob Zuma with the logo of ruling African National Congress (ANC) party are sold during a march organised by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) to support the ruling ANC party in Durban, on 26 April 2014

From the outside it might seem like relatively minor stuff - scuffles and anger in South Africa's parliament, and defections and splits within a trades union federation.

But make no mistake - these are crucial, perhaps even momentous, times for South African politics.

A status quo that has survived for 20 years of democracy is finally beginning to crack.

There is a chance this could be a good thing for South Africa - that a clumsy consensus that served the country well in the years after apartheid is no longer fit for purpose, and that a more nuanced, contested form of democracy may now take over.

But the governing African National Congress (ANC) does not see it like that, warning loudly that "fascists" and "racists" are threatening the survival of the institutions that have kept this country stable since 1994.

Read full article What MPs' scuffles reveal about South Africa's democracy

Marikana massacre: Should police be charged with murder?

  • 14 November 2014
  • From the section Africa
A policeman fires at striking miners at the Marikana platinum mine in South Africa on 16 August
The Marikana massacre is the most deadly police action since the end of white minority rule in 1994

South African police have been accused of deliberately "operating as a firing squad" when they killed 34 striking workers at the Marikana platinum mine in 2012. The claim comes from lawyers working for the judge whose long inquiry into the shootings ends on Friday.

"This was a paramilitary operation, with the aim of annihilating those who were perceived as the enemy," say the evidence leaders - lawyers working alongside Judge Ian Farlam - in their written submission to the commission.

Read full article Marikana massacre: Should police be charged with murder?

Ebola outbreak: Braving threats to bury Sierra Leone dead

  • 5 November 2014
  • From the section Africa
Mariatu Kagbo in Sierra Leone
Mariatu Kagbo volunteered to join the burial team to protect the dignity of women

As Mariatu Kagbo makes her way up the steep hillside from her family home and walks towards the main road, several people shout out "Ebola!"

At best, they mean it as a taunt.

Read full article Ebola outbreak: Braving threats to bury Sierra Leone dead

Ebola crisis:

  • 5 November 2014
  • From the section Africa
A burial team in Sierra Leone suits up in their protective gear
The burial teams in Sierra Leone face threats and sometimes violence

As Mariatu Kagbo makes her way up the steep hillside from her family home and walks towards the main road, several people shout out "Ebola!"

At best, they mean it as a taunt.

Read full article Ebola crisis:

Ebola crisis: A village fights back in Sierra Leone

  • 4 November 2014
  • From the section Africa

It is nothing much to look at - a derelict building in rural Sierra Leone surrounded by a couple of tents and a meandering maze of stick and plastic fences.

But this enclosure in a village called Gbantama, about four hours drive north of the capital, Freetown, is being hailed as a missing link in the huge, chaotic and often much too slow fight against Ebola.

Read full article Ebola crisis: A village fights back in Sierra Leone

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.

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

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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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