A reminder of today's wise words:
Clay pots are meant to be fragile yet they survive the heat of the kiln."
And we leave you with picture of a trader surrounded with assorted foodstuffs in Senegal's capital, Dakar,.
A reminder of today's wise words:
Clay pots are meant to be fragile yet they survive the heat of the kiln."
And we leave you with picture of a trader surrounded with assorted foodstuffs in Senegal's capital, Dakar,.
BBC World Service
A former Nigerian oil minister and three election officials have been charged with money-laundering.
The ex-minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, has been accused of bribing the officials before the 2015 elections. She was not present to enter a plea, and was described on the charge sheet as being at large.
In the past she has rejected accusations that she was corrupt.
Ms Alison-Madueke served under President Goodluck Jonathan. He lost the election to Muhamadu Buhari.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission says one of the three officials pleaded guilty, and the other two not guilty.
Earlier we reported on UK filmmaker Phil Cox's description in the Guardian newspaper of being detained and tortured by the Sudanese authorities, who suspected him of being a spy.
While in Khartoum's Kobar prison, Mr Cox wrote that he met prisoners who had been jailed for a variety of reasons.
They included many who had been arrested for sharing text messages about a "day of disobedience" that saw many people simply stay at home instead of protesting in the streets.
The sentence for sharing such messages was three months, Mr Cox said.
Other prisoners included "young men who had tried to organise a football team on WhatsApp – but because they could mobilise 100 to 200 young sports enthusiasts, they were perceived as a threat".
Yet more prisoners were former policemen, lawyers and academics, Mr Cox said.
"Some had no idea why they were there. Many bore the marks of beatings and torture."
Cameroon-born model Mimi Mbah is receiving a lot of praise for standing up to racist bullies on social media.
Ms Mbah was sent racist comments on Twitter by people who said she would be more beautiful if she had lighter skin.
The US-based model responded:
Her response was retweeted more than 20,000 times attracted thousands of message of support and media attention.
She told BuzzFeed that she hopes that the attention her tweet has garnered will help her raise awareness that colourism still exists.
However the aspiring model finds herself continuing to fend off unwelcome comments on social media, the latest of which criticised her natural hair style:
It comes days after a photo of former First Lady Michelle Obama emerged showing her wearing her hair in a natural style.
The photo was widely praised on social media.
The Government of the Netherlands says its diplomat in Juba has met South Sudanese officials after a Dutch minister called South Sudanese leaders "bastards" during a fundraising TV appearance.
South Sudan had demanded an apology after Dutch Minister for International Trade and Development Cooperation Lilianne Ploumen said the country's leaders were "bastards who starve their own people.”
The Dutch government told the BBC it had no comment to make about what was said during the meeting.
In 2014 the Dutch government stopped sending aid for South Sudan through official channels because of what it described as a lack of will to stop the conflict there. Support was instead continued through NGOs and humanitarian organisations.
See earlier post for more details
BBC World Service
A South Sudanese rebel group, the National Salvation Front, has called for an investigation into what it says was the murder of innocent civilians by government troops in the small town of Pajok.
More than 3,000 people have fled into neighbouring Uganda, and the UN refugee body says many are visibly in dire need of immediate humanitarian assistance.
Some of the refugees say their loved ones were shot dead as they tried to flee, or were arrested and then killed.
A South Sudanese army spokesman reportedly denied that his troops had attacked civilians, saying they had been fighting rebels in the area.
One refugee, who did not want to be named, told the BBC soldiers had arrived in Pajok on Sunday and began shooting people at random.
He said there had been beheadings, children had been attacked and looting had taken place.
Another refugee, 30-year-old farmer Password Okot, told Reuters how he lost two brothers.
Having fled the initial fighting, he crept back to his home in Ywayaa village on Pajok's outskirts to collect his belongings.
There he saw government soldiers grab his brother, 35-year-old mechanic Ayela Peter, from a crowd, tie his ankles, slit his throat and sling up his body in a doorway.
"When they saw them slaughtering my brother, people scattered and started running. When they were running, they shot my other brother," Mr Okot said at the Ngoromoro border crossing.
Football fans in Kenya have criticised administrators of the local league after match officials used paper instead of an electronic board to do substitutions.
The BBC's Abdinoor Aden says that the fans feel that it was not a good show for the country as it prepares to host the African Nations Championship next year.
The speaker of South Africa's National Assembly has scheduled a no-confidence vote against President Jacob Zuma for 18 April.
The move is driven by opposition parties who have been calling on Mr Zuma to resign following reported scandals and breach of ethics.
In a media briefing earlier today the Secretary General Gwede Mantashe of the ruling ANC said the party's MPs will not support the motion.
BBC Africa, Banjul
Sierra Leone has called off tomorrow's scheduled auction of the 709-carat diamond - the world's largest uncut diamond - found in March in the eastern Kono district.
Presidential spokesman Abdulai Bayraytay told me that the new date was 11 May.
He said this was to allow for overseas-based bidders who've expressed interest to have a chance and potentially increase the value.
Sources say four bidders have so far expressed interest in the stone found by a Christian pastor, Emmanuel Momoh.
South African President Jacob Zuma told top officials of the African National Congress in December of his decision to dismiss former finance minister Pravin Gordhan, but the leaders persuaded him to delay the sacking, a top ANC official said, the Reuters news agency reports.
The party's deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte said that Mr Zuma's relationship with the widely respected former minister had broken down.
Mr Duarte also said Mr Zuma would meet with the party's integrity commission on 9 April.
South Africa's top court has dismissed an appeal by the department of environmental affairs to keep a moratorium on the domestic trade in rhino horn, according to court documents seen by Reuters on Wednesday.
Pelham Jones, chairman of South Africa's Private Rhino Owners Association (PROA) which was one of the respondents in the case, told Reuters this meant that the sale of rhino horns was legal in South Africa.
A global ban in the horn trade, which is regulated by a UN convention, remains in place.
The PROA says that rhino horn can be obtained humanely from live animals and legalising the trade in rhino horns would mean more private ownership of rhinos, more funds for conservation and less pressure on wild rhino populations.
Just last month poachers killed two rhinos during a vicious attack on an animal orphanage in South Africa.
Twelve white rhinos have also just left their native South Africa for a new life in a nearby country as part of an anti-poaching project.
The country saw a decline in the numbers of rhinos killed for their prized horns in the first half of 2016, down to 702 from 796 the previous year.
However, the reduction came after several years of increases.
Poachers have even struck in Europe - killing a rhino at a zoo outside Paris before cutting off its horn.
Textile artist Billie Zangewa lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Alongside almost 100 other African artists, her work was recently displayed at the Paris Art Fair 2017.
She spoke to BBC News about why she likes making self portraits out of silk.
Cameroon coach Hugo Broos has insisted he wants to stay in the job, just a week after saying he was seriously considering his future.
The Belgian had threatened to quit over management and funding problems but after a meeting with sport authorities has changed his stance.
Broos also rejected speculation he had applied to be coach of Ghana, who have now appointed Kwesi Appiah.
"I don't want to leave Cameroon," the 64-year-old Broos said.
"If I was going to leave Cameroon I would have done so a long time ago."
Broos also apologised for his comments in Brussels last month when he blamed poor preparation and delays to the players' pre-match meal for a 2-1 defeat by Guinea.
"I must have exaggerated and humiliated the Cameroonian people and I ask for forgiveness," he said.
Kendall Jenner has been accused of undermining the Black Lives Matter movement in her new advert for Pepsi.
In it, she leaves a photoshoot to join protesters calling for love and peace, before handing a can to police as a peace offering.
The officer cracks a smile and the crowd cheers.
Critics think the ad is based on recent protests over police brutality against black people in America.
It's been criticised for painting a "privileged, white" supermodel as a peacemaker between civil rights activists and police.
Pepsi said the ad "reflected people from different walks of life coming together in a spirit of harmony".
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has launched his plan to reinvigorate Nigeria's stalled economy.
He says it is a medium-term plan to restore growth and make the economy globally competitive.
Various of his aides have been tweeting photos from the event.
Not everyone is convinced though. Some Nigerians have been tweeting their comments under the #NERGP hashtag:
Mr Buhari's Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo meanwhile has been talking up Nigeria's chances of rebalancing its economy away from oil and towards technology:
We reported earlier about a boat that had capsized off the coast of the East African island of Zanzibar and that nine people were reported missing.
The BBC's Sammy Awami is reporting that officials have rescued the missing passengers and everyone has been accounted for.
Coventry have terminated the contract of Nigerian striker Yakubu by mutual consent.
The former Portsmouth and Everton forward joined the Sky Blues on a deal until the end of the season in February, having been released by Turkish side Kayserispor last summer.
Yakubu, 34, played three games for Coventry without scoring, but suffered a hamstring injury in a 3-1 defeat by Swindon on 25 February.
He was not involved in Sunday's EFL Trophy final victory at Wembley.
Coventry are bottom of League One, 13 points adrift of safety, with six games left to play.
BBC Africa, Johannesburg
President Jacob Zuma must be breathing a sigh of relief today following a decision by the ruling African National Congress's National Working Committee to back him after accepting his explanation of the controversial sacking of well regarded Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.
He certainly has crossed the first hurdle in his mission to stay in the job.
Newspaper headlines are describing him as Teflon Don because of his survival skills. But this does not mean that he is completely off the hook.
Opposition parties together with some in his own governing alliance are planning mass action through public protests and are still demanding for him to resign.
The speaker of parliament is considering recalling a joint sitting for a vote of no confidence put forward by the Democratic Alliance.
The Economic Freedom Fighters party has gone to court asking for permission to impeachment Mr Zuma.
For now, however, Mr Zuma remains president of Africa’s oldest liberation movement.
We know that Congolese President Joseph Kabila was saying some important things when he addressed MPs earlier, but there was one other talking point.
And BBC Africa's security correspondent, who was following the speech today, has commented on the president's more hirsute appearance:
The usually clean-shaven president was today sporting a healthy looking moustache and a full head of hair instead of his trademark low-cut shave.
We have however pulled this tweet from 2013 which shows that he was at least settled on growing the moustache - if a little less bushy:
Congolese President Jospeh Kabila has just wrapped up a wide-ranging speech to MPs in the capital Kinshasa.
On the political front, he said that he will name a new prime minister in the next 48 hours, a post which is to be held by an opposition member as part of a deal brokered by the Catholic church.
Mr Kabila also committed to holding elections later in the year but did not give a date.
A video of supporters of Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza singing about impregnating female opposition supporters has caused outrage and been condemned by the government.
The two-minute long video shows young men from the party's youth wing - Imbonerakure -singing in the local Kirundi langauge:
Impregnate our opponents so they would give birth to Imbonerakure."
The government has condemned the video, criticising the use of ''inappropriate language" which ''does not conform with moral standards nor with party ideology".
The statement says party disciplinary officials are investigating to identify those responsible and says early findings suggest there was an "external hand".
The BBC's Prime Ndikumagenge in Bujumbura says it is the first time the party has taken such a stand despite the youth league having long been accused of violence and harassment against opponents of the government.
The song is being taken seriously by the opposition and women's organisations as incitement to rape as the Imborenakure have been blamed for acts of sexual violence in the past.
Burundi has experienced instability since Mr Nkuruziza refused to give up power at the end of his term in April 2015.
Seven people are now reported to have died in a car bomb attack on a restaurant in Mogadishu.
Witnesses told Reuters that the blast had destroyed the cafe and damaged another one.
"So far we have carried seven dead people from the blast. Casualties may rise," ambulance service director Abdikadir Abdirahman said.
Police said the blast took place near the compounds housing the security and sports ministries.
At least 10 people were also wounded in the blast, officials said.
No group has so far said it was behind the attack, but bombings are frequently carried out by Somalia's al-Shabab militant group, which has threatened a "vicious war" against the country's new government.
Congolese President Joseph Kabila says delayed elections will take place but there is no date for them yet.
He is addressing MPs in Kinshasa and the BBC's Catherine Byaruhanga is in the city following his speech:
Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila has arrived at the People's Palace in the capital Kinshasa where MPs are gathered to hear a long awaited speech in which he is expected to comment on the stalled peace process. (see earlier post)
These images are from the state broadcaster:
A British filmmaker has described how he was kidnapped in Sudan and then passed to the Sudanese government, who took him to a notorious prison in the capital Khartoum and tortured him, accusing him of being a spy.
Mr Cox entered Sudan from Chad with a Sudanese colleague, Daoud Hari, aiming to investigate allegations that the Sudanese government had used chemical weapons on civilians in the Darfur region .
But in an account of his ordeal, Mr Cox wrote in the Guardian newspaper that once inside the country the filmmakers were informed that they were being hunted after the government put a bounty on their head.
They were kidnapped by an armed group near the Jebel Marra mountains and chained to a tree in the desert for a week before being transferred to Kobar prison in Khartoum, where they faced torture.
In a statement , Mr Cox said:
Daoud and I experienced first-hand the lengths that the Sudanese government will go to stop any independent reporting on what is happening in Darfur.
Our time in prison gave us a terrifying insight into the brutal tactics of the Sudanese security forces, and it also revealed the arbitrary and heavy-handed way any perceived opposition or anti-government criticism is dealt with.”
Channel 4 News editor Ben de Pear said:
We sent Daoud and Phil to investigate allegations of human rights abuses in Sudan, but we never thought that they themselves would fall victim to these horrific abuses. They were beaten, tortured and electrocuted, simply for being journalists."
We have just come across a chart flow showing several projections of the likely fate of South Africa's President Jacob Zuma, who is facing growing calls to resign.
It explains several scenarios that could lead him to be forced out of office but even then, the odds are heavily stacked in his favour:
BBC News, Nigeria correspondent
Health workers in Nigeria have started a mass vaccination programme to try and stop an outbreak of meningitis.
More than 300 people have died of the disease since late last year.
Health workers are focusing their efforts on the north-western state of Zamfara – the centre of the outbreak.
Nigeria’s Centre for Disease Control says 500,000 vaccinations will be administered.
Health officials say they are almost 3,000 suspected cases of meningitis. So far the most affected group of victims has been children aged five to 14.
One official told the BBC that the response to the outbreak was hampered by a shortage of vaccine doses.
The predominant strain of meningitis causing this outbreak is type C, which is unusual in Nigeria.
Beleaguered South African President Jacob Zuma will be breathing easy today after an influential body within the ruling ANC party, the National Working Committee, rejected calls for him to step down after sacking Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.
The party's Secretary General Gwede Mantashe told a media briefing that there had been an "irretrievable breakdown of the relationship" between Mr Zuma and the former finance minister.
Mr Mantashe also said that MPs from the ruling party would not support a motion by opposition parties to impeach the president:
Several leaders have called on Mr Zuma to step down following a string of reported corruption scandals and ethical breaches.
His deputy Cyril Ramaphosa said in a recent speech that the country was ready for renewal and criticised "greedy and corrupt people".
Mr Zuma has survived several previous attempts to remove him from office.
A dog saved many lives at a wedding party in Maiduguri by attacking a teenage female suicide bomber who was sneaking into the ceremony, Nigerian army radio reports.
Both the dog and the suicide bomber were killed when the teenager detonated her bomb as she fought to get away from the dog, Lafiya Dole FM said.
Police said the dog belonged to a resident in the neighbourhood where the wedding was taking place.
MPs in the Democratic Republic of Congo have gathered at the Palais du Peuple (People's Palace) in the capital Kinshasa ahead of an expected speech by President Joseph Kabila.
Mr Kabila is expected to comment on a stalled peace deal brokered by the Catholic church which requires him to appoint a prime minister from the opposition. He is also expected to step down before the end of the year.
The BBC's Horaci Garcia has snapped these photos from the event:
DR Congo has faced months of political instability following pressure from opposition parties who are against Mr Kabila's rule, leading to violent protests on the streets.
The government is also fighting militias on several fronts with the central province of Kasai experiencing a surge in violence following deadly attacks from both sides.
The UN announced yeasterday that it had discovered 23 mass graves since March.
Juba has summoned the Dutch ambassador demanding an apology following remarks attributed to the Dutch Minister for International Trade and Development Cooperation Lilianne Ploumen, who allegedly called South Sudanese leaders "bastards".
“The leaders of South Sudan are bastards who starve their own people,” she told Dutch TV station RTL4 this week.
The Dutch minister was speaking during a nationwide campaign which has seen the Dutch government and the public donate tens of millions of euros to Unicef and Dutch NGOs as they struggle to address four major famines.
BBC Africa, Dar es Salaam
Nine people are missing and 44 have survived after their fishing boat sank off the East African island of Zanzibar.
Makarani Mohamed, the acting director of criminal investigation, told the BBC that the search and rescue operation is still under way:
“We understand that the accident was caused by heavy wind and waves which caused the boat to capsize,” he said.
Survivors told rescuers that at least 53 passengers set off for fishing yesterday afternoon when the ocean was calm.
But the weather changed at about 09:00 local time (06:00 GMT), stirring up heavy ocean waves which caused their boat to overturn
He said he hasn’t seen any of his colleagues since the accident happened
Fishing is a major economic activity in the island of Zanzibar but many boats operate with faulty parts, leading to frequent accidents
In 2011 more than 200 people died after their overload ferry sailing from Unguja to Pemba capsized off the islands.
A car carrying explosives has rammed into a cafe in Mogadishu near the compounds housing the security and sports ministries, killing three, police have told Reuters news agency.
"A suicide car bomb hit a small restaurant near the sports and youth ministry. So far we have confirmed three civilians died," police officer Nur Aden said.
The influential National Working Committee within South Africa's ruling African National Congress party has been holding a meeting to discuss calls for President Jacob Zuma to resign.
The country's biggest union, Cosatu, a former president and ANC party veterans have all called on Mr Zuma to step down.
However the ANC Youth League has held a rally in support of Mr Zuma.
ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe is now speaking to journalists.
Mr Zuma made a sudden reshuffle to his cabinet that has been widely criticised, particularly the sacking of respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan.
State broadcaster SABC is llivestreaming the event:
There has been a blast near the Ministry of Internal Security in the Somali capital Mogadishu.
We will bring you more details as they come in.
The Gambia's ex-president, Yahya Jammeh, flew out of the country in January and into exile in Equatorial Guinea.
There's very little we know about what he's been up to since then - or even where exactly he's been staying.
Journalist Colin Freeman has been investigating his movements for Foreign Policy magazine.
He spoke to BBC's Newsday presenter Matthew Kenyon about Mr Jammeh's life of luxury in exile:
A second earthquake in days struck the southern African nation of Botswana early on Wednesday, the US Geological Survey says.
It was reported to be very shallow, only 10km and is believed to have been unlikely to have caused much damage, the statement says.
It came two days after a strong 6.5-magnitude tremor in the same remote region of the country.
There are only six Karomia Gigas trees left in Tanzania, putting it among the world's rarest trees according to a new survey.
About 300 species have been identified as critically endangered as they had fewer than 50 individuals remaining in the wild.
They are among 60,065 species of trees in the world, according to a comprehensive study of the world's plants by Botanical Gardens Conservation International (BGCI).
The organisation compiled the tree list by using data gathered from its network of 500 member organisations.
It hopes the list will be used as a tool to identify rare and threatened species in need of immediate action to prevent them becoming extinct.
The data revealed that Brazil was the nation with the greatest number of tree species, home to 8,715 varieties.
Tanzania - home to the Karomia Gigas tree - had 1,755 species while Malawi - whose national tree, the Mulanje Cedar, is also critically endangered - has 724 species.
Apart from the polar regions, which have no trees, the near-Arctic region of North America had the fewest number of species, with less than 1,400.
Another fact to emerge was that more than half of the species (58%) were only found in one country, suggesting that they were vulnerable to potential threats, such as deforestation from extreme weather events or human activity.
A Kenyan man has pleaded not guilty to charges of killing Tristan Voorspuy, a British military veteran, last month as he inspected his farm in the Laikipia region in northern Kenya, the Reuters news agency reports.
Samson Lokayi said he had nothing to do with the murder. "I have not killed anyone", Reuters quotes him as saying.
Mr Lokayi first appeared in court in March but the court proceedings were postponed because he does not understand Swahili or English, the languages used in court.
Kenya's security forces have been trying to bring normalcy in the Laikipia region after armed herders looking for pasture for their animals raided private farms with some looting and torching property.
Benin's National Assembly has narrowly rejected a proposal by President Patrice Talon to hold a constitutional referendum seeking to limit his successors to a single six-year term in office.
President Talon was elected a year ago, saying he wanted to shorten presidential terms to combat complacency. He needed the approval of three-quarters of the National Assembly to go ahead with the referendum - but fell three votes short.
President Talon's efforts to reduce presidential terms contrasts with some other African leaders - such as in Rwanda, the Republic of Congo and Burundi - who have extended them in order to stay in office.