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  1. New SA finance minister Gigaba withheld junk status information
  2. SA union Cosatu calls for Zuma to step down
  3. Pink Star diamond sells for record sum in Hong Kong
  4. Thousands 'flee South Sudan border town'
  5. Nigerian author shortlisted for top UK prize
  6. Huge fire in Cairo
  7. Michelle Obama 'natural hair' photos widely praised
  8. Email stories and comments to - Tuesday 4 April 2017

Live Reporting

By Hugo Williams and Tom Spender

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. Scroll down for Tuesday's stories

    We'll be back tomorrow

    That's all from the  BBC Africa Live  page today. 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 today's wise words:

    Quote Message: The path of a liar is short." from A Swahili proverb sent by Zakayo Ndiritu, Nairobi, Kenya
    A Swahili proverb sent by Zakayo Ndiritu, Nairobi, Kenya

    Click here and scroll to the bottom to send us your African proverbs .

    And we leave you with this picture of a man strolling in the Merkato area of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

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  2. Will Zuma turn up at rally?

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    Supporters of President Jacob Zuma are still waiting inside Germiston stadium to see if their under pressure leader is going to address them. 

    There's no sign of him yet, but in the meantime the Minister of Water and Sanitation, Nomvula Mokonyane, has been keeping the crowd warm with a speech in support of the ANC. 

    The roughly 300 supporters in the stadium were told "The president will join while we are in the programme", local Times Live news website reports .

    You can follow the live stream here:

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  3. Cosatu 'would consider' changing mind on Zuma

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    South Africa's largest trade union, Cosatu, says it plans to meet President Jacob Zuma "as soon as possible" at his request, Reuters news agency reports.

    It comes hours after the group, a key ally of Mr Zuma's governing African National Congress (ANC) party, called on the president to step down (see earlier entries).

    Sizwe Pamla, the union's spokesman, said the meeting would discuss the cabinet reshuffle that triggered a credit rating downgrade by S&P to junk status and the risks this posed to workers in Africa's most industrialised country, Reuters adds.

    Cosatu leader S'dumo Dlamini revealed that Mr Zuma had phoned him early on Tuesday, requesting an urgent meeting, the local Times Live news website reports.

    Asked whether or not the federation would retract their call for the president to step down‚ Mr Dlamini said they would "consider" that option, the report adds.

  4. 'Mr Zuma - you've lost the plot'

    An anti-Zuma portest has been taking place in the city of Port Elizabeth, organised by the civil society group Save South Africa

    anti Zuma protest
    anti zuma protest
    anti-Zuma protest

    The organisers shared a video showing the rally's large turnout:

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  5. Big response to Kenya mobile bond issue

    Wanyama wa Chebusiri

    BBC Africa, Nairobi

    A delegate uses her cell phone to buy a M-Akiba bond

    Just a fortnight after authorities in Kenya rolled out the world’s first mobile-only government bond, there has been overwhelming response from investors. 

    The programme allows citizens to buy government bonds via mobile phone. The bond, named after the Kiswahili word  akiba  or “savings,” is aimed at encouraging ordinary Kenyans access to the country’s capital markets. 

    Investors can buy in increments as small as 3,000 shillings (about $30), compared to the minimum of 50,000 shillings individuals had to spend previously to buy government bonds. 

    Rose Mambo, CEO of the Central Depository and Settlement Corporation (CDSC), one of the mobile bond trading companies, said 98,500 people had opened CDSC accounts and 5,000 people had actually bought bonds.

    People were being encouraged because the 10% return was guaranteed no matter how small the amount invested and the principal was not at risk, she said.

    Quote Message: An ordinary Kenyan can now get a good return on their money. It is encouraging a savings culture among Kenyans."

    She said fears among some Kenyans that the money would be used for electioneering by parties in the ruling Jubilee Coalition were unfounded.  

    Quote Message: It is an infrastructure bond. The money will not be used for election fundraising. There is an accounting process for how the money is spent."
  6. 'Piracy is back' - Somali mayor

    Pirate at the water's edge with a gun
    Image caption: Piracy off the coast of Somalia has fallen sharply in recent years

    The mayor of a strategic port town off the coast of Somalia has said that "piracy is back", according to a journalist for Voice of America's Somali service.

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    The town of Hobyo, which lies 700km (430 miles) north of the capital Mogadishu on the coast, was a key base for pirates at the height of their activities in 2011. 

    It's also close to the area where an Indian cargo ship with 11 crew on board was hijacked over the weekend. 

    A pirate leader told Reuters news agency earlier that the boat had been taken to waters off the Somali coast pending ransom negotiations.

    Piracy off the Somali coast has dropped significantly in recent years, in part because of extensive international military patrols as well as support for local fishing communities.  

    At the height of the crisis in 2011, there were 237 attacks and the annual cost of piracy was  estimated to be  up to $8bn (£7bn).  

    Read more: Maritime piracy threatens to return

  7. Sadio Mane 'could be out for rest of season'


    Liverpool's Sadio Mane will miss Wednesday's match with Bournemouth, but Jurgen Klopp says it is "possible" the Senegal forward could be ruled out for the rest of the Premier League season.

    Mane, 24, had to be taken off after suffering a knee injury in  Saturday's 3-1 home victory over Everton.

    There were reports that Mane, a £34m signing from Southampton last summer, might  miss the rest of the campaign.

    But manager Klopp said: "It is not 100% clear. We have to wait a bit."

    Read the full story here

  8. Embattled Zuma to address supporters at rally

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    Members of the ANC Youth League are gathering to welcome embattled South African President Jacob Zuma, who is expected to address a rally on the outskirts of Johannesburg shortly.

    Mr Zuma should expect a warm welcome from those gathered inside the Germiston stadium, who have already been chanting slogans in support. 

    The youth wing of the governing ANC party has remained steadfast in its support for the president. 

    It said it was " over the moon " at the president's controversial reshuffle, which had "vindicated and restored our confidence in his leadership". 

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  9. Nigerian author shortlisted for top UK prize


    This year's shortlist for the UK Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction includes Nigerian first-time novelist Ayobami Adebayo.

    She is up against three British authors, an American and a Canadian.

    Stay With Me - Ayobami Adebayo

    Set against the social and political turbulence of 1980s Nigeria, Stay with Me is a story of marriage and motherhood.

    Yejide knows the only way to save her marriage to Akin is to have a child. When his family insist he takes a second wife she is livid with jealousy and becomes desperate to get pregnant before her rival.

    What is the Women's Prize for Fiction?

    • The Women's Prize for Fiction is awarded annually to what judges consider the best novel of the year written in English by a female author
    • It was co-founded by author Kate Mosse, who believed female authors were often overlooked for major literary prizes
    • Previous winners of the prize, which has been running since 1996, include Zadie Smith, Ali Smith, Lionel Shriver and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    • Orange sponsored the award for 17 years before Baileys took over in 2014
    • The winning author receives £30,000 in prize money

    Read the full story here

  10. Ghana re-appoint Kwesi Appiah as coach


    The Ghana Football Association (GFA) has re-appointed Kwesi Appiah as the coach of the Black Stars.

    Appiah, who will also take charge of the national team for locally-based players, has been offered a two-year contract to start work 1 May.

    He replaces Avram Grant who stepped down as coach after the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.

    It is a second stint in charge for Appiah, who  led the Black Stars from 2012  until  2014.

    Read the full story here

  11. The cost of South Africa's junk status

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    Video caption: What impact with South Africa's junk status have?
  12. Thousands 'flee South Sudan border town'

    Image caption: Pajok is on the border with Uganda

    More than 3,000 South Sudanese have fled into Uganda after government soldiers attacked the border town of Pajok, reports say.

    The troops killed men, women and children indiscriminately, those who fled told Reuters news agency.

    The attack by government SPLA forces is the latest to hit southern towns near the Ugandan border as a three-year civil war drags on in the world's youngest nation. 

    "If you ran, you got shot. If you got arrested you got slaughtered," said 35-year-old Lokang Jacky, drawing his index finger across his throat. 

    "The town is completely empty," a pastor who gave his name as Mondaa said. "If they catch anybody, they will kill them." 

    Refugees and Ugandan intelligence officials said fighting started on Monday morning with a three-pronged assault on the town, which is normally home to 50,000 people. 

    South Sudan government officials could not be reached for comment, Reuters said. 

  13. Tergat wants to be Kenya IOC chief

    Wanyama wa Chebusiri

    BBC Africa

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    Former Kenyan long-distance runner Paul Tergat has officially launched his campaign for the position of president of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (Nock). 

    The legendary athlete, 48, will face off with three other candidates, among them the incumbent president Kipchoge Keino. 

    Tergat held the world record in the marathon from 2003 to 2007 and is regarded as one of the most accomplished long-distance runners of all time.

  14. Boko Haram faction denies starvation reports

    The faction of the Islamist militant group Boko Haram led by Abubakar Shekau has released a video denying that fighters are dying of hunger in its north-east Nigerian forest base. 

    Nigeria's military last week said it was "ransacking" territory it said it had recaptured from Boko Haram in the hunt for Shekau, who leads one of two main branches of the jihadist group, Reuters reported. 

    It also said he might be hiding in the Sambisa forest. 

    Boko Haram suicide bombings and gun attacks have increased in the region since the end of the rainy season late last year. 

    "It is not true that we have run out of food supply and that we are being killed by hunger," said an unidentified man with a rifle, flanked by others carrying guns, in the five-minute video. 

    Nigeria's army said in December that it had pushed Boko Haram out of the Sambisa forest

    Nigerian soldiers burn militant camp
    Image caption: Nigerian army says it is hunting Shekau in the Sambisa Forest
  15. Huge fire in Cairo

    People in the Egyptian capital are sharing photos of a blaze in the city, said to be at a sports centre on the Gezira island on the Nile River. There are no reports of casualties so far.

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  16. Scores dead in Sudan tribal clashes

    Ahmed Mohamed Abdi

    BBC Monitoring

    More than 50 people have been killed in West Kordofan State after gunmen from two tribes clashed in a dispute over livestock on 2 April, the Netherlands-based Radio Dabanga website reported.

    "Dozens of people were killed in fresh clashes between the Hamar and Kababish tribes in Wadi al-Zeima Locality in Sudan’s West Kordofan State over a dispute regarding thefts of camels on Sunday, according to eyewitnesses," the website said.

    "Eyewitnesses told Radio Tamazuj on Monday that nearly 30 people were killed from the Hamar tribe, while 26 people including a woman were killed from the Kababish tribe," the report added.

    The conflict-hit regions of Kordofan and Darfur have witnessed heavy clashes between the heavily-armed Arab tribes, resulting in hundreds of deaths in the last few years.

  17. Ghana suicide emergency helpline launched

    The BBC's Thomas Naadi has been finding out more about the launch  

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    Video caption: Ghana's Mental Health Authority set up helpline after a rise in reported cases
  18. South Africans mock Gigaba for keeping downgrade secret

    Map shows #junkstatus trending in South Africa

    #JunkStatus is trending on Twitter in South Africa following the country's credit downgrade on Monday.

    South Africans on Twitter have been poking fun at Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, after he revealed that he was informed of the move by ratings agency S&P on Friday, three days before the downgrade was publicly announced. 

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  19. SA-mined Pink Star diamond sells for $71m

    pink star

    A giant diamond named the Pink Star has broken the world record for a gemstone sold at auction when it fetched $71.2m (£57m) in Hong Kong.

    The 59.60-carat diamond - the largest in its class ever graded by the Gemological Institute of America - was sold to the city's Chow Tai Fook jewellery chain, AFP reports. 

    Bidding started at about $56m. The sale lasted for five minutes and involved three bidders before the winning offer came by phone.

    pink star

    The sparkling oval-cut rock measures 2.69 by 2.06cm (1.06 by 0.81 inches) and weighs 11.92 grams (0.026 pounds). It was 132.5 carats in the rough when it was mined by De Beers in South Africa in 1999, according to Sotheby's. 

    The stone was cut and polished over two years by Steinmetz Diamonds and unveiled to the public in 2003.

    The stone fetched $83m at auction in Geneva in 2013 but the buyer later defaulted.

    The previous record for a jewel sold at auction was $57.5m last May for the 14.62-carat Oppenheimer Blue sold by Christie's in Geneva. 

  20. Party veterans urge ANC to 'do the honourable thing' over Zuma

    Milton Nkosi

    BBC Africa, Johannesburg

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    African National Congress (ANC) veterans have joined the chorus calling for president Jacob Zuma to step down.

    The stalwarts told a media briefing in Johannesburg on Tuesday afternoon that they want the ANC to do “the honourable thing and recall the president.”

    This group of former leaders and anti-apartheid struggle heroes comprises of over 150 members.

    The veterans said that their principled starting point is because “The 15 member (ANC) integrity commission has (also) requested the president to resign.”

    Stalwarts who include former High Commissioners, ministers and many respected activists who served long jail terms fighting white minority rule, said that the president is a law unto himself.

    “We take a very dim view of this,” they said.

    "If the leadership of the African National Congress doesn’t do it then the people will do it themselves."