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The best of the M&G’s Africa coverage in 2018

The Mail & Guardian prides itself on in-depth, first-hand reporting on and from the African continent. This is a selection of the best stories published in the newspaper’s Africa section this year.

Boy Scouts in a war zone

There are more boy scouts than peacekeepers in the Central African Republic — and the boy scouts are arguably more effective. From mediating between armed groups to investigating for signs of Ebola, Central African scouts really must “be prepared” for anything.

Uncovering the African Union’s sexual harassment scandal

The Mail & Guardian investigation into gender discrimination and sexual harassment in the African Union Commission forced the continental body to constitute an internal inquiry — which found the problem was even worse than we reported.

New advocates for the ancient gods of Nigeria

In Nigeria, it is easy to forget that the two major religions — Christianity and Islam — are colonial imports. But not everyone has forgotten the old gods, the indigenous deities that have been worshipped here for centuries — and some are on a mission to make the rest of the country remember.

A pilgrimage to the home of Africa’s finest chilli sauce

Many taste buds were sacrificed during the course of this investigation.


Thandekile Moyo did not understand why her family was so opposed to her dating a Shona boy — until she realised that the shadow of Gukurahundi continues to loom large over modern Zimbabwe. The topic remains so sensitive that she was fired from her publishing job for writing this piece (as she explains in her follow up).

Warship-watching in Djibouti

This tiny nation on the Horn of Africa has become one of the most important geostrategic spaces on the planet — and home to an astonishing array of foreign military bases.

The bridge that binds Lagos together

When it was opened, in 1990, Lagos’ Third Mainland Bridge handled 1 000 cars a day. Today it’s closer to 70 000. To traverse its length — usually very slowly, thanks to the chronic traffic — is to witness the the many faces of Africa’s most populous city, along with its many contradictions.

‘I just couldn’t argue back’: exposing sexual harassment in Kenyan newsrooms

In an exclusive investigation, female journalists in Kenya detail the sexual harassment that has become endemic in media houses.

Hunting for ghosts in Kinshasa

As the Democratic Republic of Congo gears up for its presidential election, the names on the ballot paper are less significant than the ghosts that continue to haunt them.

Hated at home, queer exiles find cold comfort in SA

Queer asylum seekers from all over Africa hope to find refuge in South Africa, a country whose Constitution famously forbids discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. But they don’t always receive the welcome they are expecting.

Faking Nigeria’s iconic football shirt: a how-to guide

Nigeria’s psychedelic football kit at this year’s FIFA World Cup became an instant classic — making up somewhat for the team’s lacklustre performance. The shirt’s popularity was not just good news for Nike, but also for an army of informal traders producing cut-price knock-offs. 

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