In an African context, Zambia's level of corruption is hardly the worst, but it is a problem and politicians, church leaders and ordinary Zambians are starting to speak out against it. With its new status as a highly indebted poor country and the recent scrapping of its debt to Paris Club creditors boosting hopes of an economic upswing, perceptions are everything.
At first it appears as though the seriously ill Zimbabwean is speaking about someone else's ordeal at the hands of the notorious Central Intelligence Organisation. Propped up in a hospital bed in South Africa two weeks after her release from Chikurubi Maximum Prison, it becomes apparent that the woman who wants to be known only as ''Itaai'' is expressing her own traumatic experience.
Situated in a large, old, red two-storey Victorian mansion in the Cape Town suburb of Claremont, the world's only college of magic may lack the flying broomsticks of Harry Potter, but the school still evokes the atmosphere of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Dozens of children gather at the college each week to learn about magic.
American animal behaviourist Kirk Turner and South Africa's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research are establishing a dog training centre in the dusty district of Brits outside the capital, Pretoria, to explore the theory that dogs, with their superior olfactory systems, can sniff out cancer in humans more accurately than machines.
Barefoot and dirty, Nkosinathi Gumede took his place in the front row at a concert by conductor and pianist Justus Frantz. The 11-year-old from the impoverished and crime-ridden township of Alexandra in northern Johannesburg appeared enthralled as the flamboyant German began directing his Philharmonia of the Nations through well-known works from Dvorak and Rossini.
South African police spent hours looking for a 43-year-old man reported kidnapped this week, but at the end of a costly seven-hour search across the Johannesburg region, it turned out that the kidnapper and the victim were the same person. Andre Lottering, an unemployed cabinet maker called his wife on Tuesday, saying he had been hijacked on a freeway outside the city.
South Africans on Tuesday noted Charlize Theron's latest success as she was nominated for an Academy Award for her leading role as a serial killer in Monster -- but some couldn't resist raking up the dark past of the former model who left the country a traumatised teenager.
Lego became ''Legover'' with the little plastic people depicted in a lewd manner. Nestle's pet food brand Husky became ''Horny'' with more of the same, involving dogs. Coca-Cola's ''You can't beat the feeling'' turned to ''enjoy Corruption, you can't beat the stealing'', its diet product, ''Cannibal, life tastes good''.
''We have lots of calls from people wanting to adopt. The first thing they always ask is 'does the child have HIV'. These people don't want a child they know is going to die,'' says Jane Mwase, resident manager at Nkosi's Haven. Tens of thousands of South African children orphaned or rejected by their extended families as a result of HIV/Aids find themselves in the care of the state.