Justin Pearce

Jo’burg: The unknown holiday resort

A holiday in Jo'burg? Sure, there's no better way to escape the beach-bound crowds, reports Justin Pearce.

At the end of a war

Cazombo sprawls along both sides of the single street that runs from the airstrip, past an echoing school and hospital building, to the oldest part of town where tile-roofed colonial villas are screened by the tortured shapes and thick scent of frangipani trees. Beyond lay a small open field of dry grass with a water tower and a vast satellite dish.

Bob’s peasantry

"I am not separated from my husband -- we were separated only by the police." Matilda* (59) has spent the past month in a village amid the dry bush of Matabeleland North. She is one of thousands of Zimbabweans to be dumped in the countryside in the past two months.

Kudos for Anna

''Very good discussions -- constructive discussions.'' Anna Tibaijuka's comments to journalists following her meeting with President Robert Mugabe sounded like the standard diplomatic brush-off. But anyone who had hoped the UN secretary general's special envoy to Zimbabwe was about to tiptoe over the matter of housing demolitions would have been disappointed when her report on the visit was published a few weeks later.

Weapons still coming into DRC ‘too easily’

The continuing flow of arms from neighbouring countries into the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo threatens the fragile peace in that region, Amnesty International recently. Also, the International Court of Justice in The Hague began hearing a case brought by the DRC, accusing Rwanda of armed aggression between 1998 and the present. Rwanda has rejected the allegations.

Angolans face delay in poll

Mixed messages from the Angolan government about the timing of elections have raised doubts about whether Angolans will indeed go to the polls in 2006, as promised by the government over the past year. Two senior officials responsible for the country's first poll since 1992 recently made contradictory statements about whether election preparations were running according to schedule.

How things went bad for Good

An Australian academic who was deported from Botswana this week -- apparently for his criticism of the government -- has said the incident ''seems to have vindicated our arguments'' about the state of democracy in the country. Professor Kenneth Good was declared an illegal immigrant in February.

The problem of Pomfret

People in Pomfret are tired of talking about the mercenaries. ''We only know they went to get bread, that's all we know,'' says Maria Dala. The men who ''went to get bread'' had not just gone round to the corner café. Hidden among thorn trees in the remoter reaches of North West province, Pomfret doesn't have a café; the fruit and veg stall where Dala stands is the only retail business to be seen.

Fighting for an education after war

When Domingos Silva left the Angolan army, he returned to his home village and enrolled for classes. At the age of 36, he says,...

System failure spawned virus

As the death toll from the Marburg epidemic in Angola passed 200, it emerged that cases of the deadly haemorrhagic fever had been present in the country since October last year. The disease was identified only last month. A spokesperson for the United Nations Transitional Coordination Unit in Luanda said the high levels of child mortality common in every rainy season had masked the presence of a new disease.

Angola’s diamonds still deadly

Three years after sanctions against ''conflict diamonds'' helped end Angola's civil war, the country's diamond industry continues to thrive on violence and corruption, according to a report to be released next week by Angolan human-rights activists. Angola's Deadly Diamonds details incidents of murder, beating, detention without trial, extortion and rape attributed to the Angolan police.

France holds key in Togo

New Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe could yet weather the political storm that surrounds his controversial appointment, thanks to his strong support from the army, analysts said this week. Decisive action by former colonial ruler France will be needed to reverse parliament's decision to install Faure as president following the death of his father Gnassingbe Eyadema.

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