African leaders on Monday opened a summit in Khartoum dominated by a controversial bid from host country Sudan to head the African Union as the pan-African body seeks to end the bloodshed in Darfur. The campaign by Sudan to take over the chairmanship of the 53-nation AU could derail peace efforts in Sudan's western Darfur region.
South Africans are bracing for political storm clouds in 2006 as the ruling African Nations Congress confronts its biggest crisis in more than a decade of power, but an economic boom could spread some sunshine. The turmoil surrounding the fate of former deputy president Jacob Zuma, once a frontrunner to succeed President Thabo Mbeki, has laid bare deep divisions within the ANC.
From the slums of Durban, a new movement is giving voice to millions of South Africans living in shacks and increasingly feeling forgotten by the post-apartheid government. Abahlali Base Mjondolo, the Zulu name for shack dwellers, is the largest group to emerge from South Africa's informal settlements that have mushroomed near cities.
United Nations agencies are warning that five million of Malawi's 12-million people are facing hunger after the worst drought in more than a decade drastically cut production of maize, the staple food in this Southern African country. President Bingu wa Mutharika on Saturday declared the food crisis a national disaster.
Martha Nakaramba's two teenage children are taking turns travelling to nearby Mozambique to bring food home to this drought-stricken area of southern Malawi and care for their 35-year-old mother who is sick with HIV/Aids. Sitting outside her small mud-brick hut, Nakaramba musters enough strength to explain in a barely audible voice that that is how they are coping with the severe food shortages hitting Malawi.
Ronald Matsito has been unable to pick up the pieces since his home of 15 years and his small hardware shop were bulldozed two months ago during the Zimbabwe government's clean up campaign. ''I can't see a way forward,'' says Matsito (55) a father of five who lives in Mufakose. ''I've lost everything.''
Group of Eight leaders meeting in Scotland next week are unlikely to agree on a ''Marshall Plan'' for Africa that will see massive aid flow to the continent, South African Minister of Finance Trevor Manuel told French news agency AFP in an interview on Wednesday.
Blue tents with sunshine posters are starting to become a familiar sight in townships near South Africa's major cities, inviting locals to come in for free HIV testing and counselling. A new programme is providing free, anonymous testing in poor areas on the outskirts of Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.
They call themselves Nelson Mandela Panel Beaters and Nelson Mandela Fine Art, but other than perhaps a shared admiration for South Africa's greatest icon, the businesses have nothing to do with him. At 86, the world's most respected statesman is fighting to keep his good name out of the shopping malls, advertising billboards and the world wide web without his specific approval.