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Ofeibea Quist-Arcton

A sea of green-and-black-clad women of all ages sway in the stands of Orlando Stadium in Soweto, clapping their hands, chanting and singing — all in honor of the late anti-apartheid stalwart, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who died on April 2, at the age of 81, and was laid to rest on Saturday in Johannesburg.

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Nigeria's president, Muhammadu Buhari, has been meeting more than 100 girls after their dramatic release this week by Boko Haram, a month after they were abducted from their boarding school dormitories in the town of Dapchi in the northeast.

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Zimbabwe's leading opposition politician, Morgan Tsvangirai, who was the arch political rival of ex-President Robert Mugabe, has died in a hospital in South Africa. He was 65 and had colon cancer.

Tsvangirai (pronounced chan-ghee-RYE) came to symbolize courageous resistance to Mugabe's repressive regime — and changed politics in Zimbabwe. As hard as he tried, he never managed to oust Mugabe at the ballot box. But the charismatic mineworker and labor union leader turned politician, and founder in 1999 of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, came close.

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Baptist Pastor Evan Mawarire is something of a cult figure in Zimbabwe. He's known for proudly wearing his country's national red, yellow, green, black and white flag around his neck. And Mawarire has deftly used social media to push his #ThisFlag hashtag campaign seeking social justice and constitutional rights, for which he's been hounded by security forces and jailed in the past.

"The Crocodile," "The Enforcer," "The Bodyguard," "The Spymaster." Those are just some of the names Zimbabwe's new leader goes by.

One could also add "The Survivor."

The nicknames are an indication of what Zimbabweans can expect of Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is 75, and poised to be sworn in as president to replace his one-time mentor Robert Mugabe, on Nov. 24.

As a young 18-year-old recruit to the independence liberation struggle, Mnangagwa was condemned to die by the Rhodesian authorities the guerrilla warriors — combatants and strategists — were trying to depose.

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Ingenuity, inspiration, an elaborate ruse and a touch of madness. That is what it took for Zainabu Hamayaji to protect her family from Boko Haram.

The terror network in northeastern Nigeria has killed 20,000 people, abducted thousands more and driven more than 2 million people from their homes during its eight-year insurgency. The 47-year-old mother of 10 — four biological and six orphaned children ranging from age 5 to 15 — had to feign insanity to keep the insurgents away.

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Salamatu Umar was abducted by Boko Haram in 2014, when she was just 15. She and five other girls were herded in the bush. She was forced to marry a Boko Haram fighter.

She and another girl eventually escaped, running away while they were collecting firewood for cooking. Umar was pregnant at the time.

Today, she is 18 and the mother of a 1-year-old son, Usman Abubakar. She survived her "hell" and lives in a displaced people's camp in Maiduguri, the main city in northeastern Nigeria and birthplace of Boko Haram.

Umar is free — and yet she is not really free.

Imagine the worst has happened to your family. You've been forced to flee your home.

You eventually make it to safety. But now you're living in a camp for displaced persons.

You don't want to just depend on handouts. So how do you make a living?

In 2014, Boko Haram seized the town of Gwoza in northeast Nigeria, killing hundreds of people. The insurgents declared that Gwoza would be the seat of their self-proclaimed caliphate. It was a perfect place for them, protected by a mountainside, with caves and tunnels for hiding out.

If you happen to be a cancer patient needing radiation in Senegal, getting past the shock of the diagnosis and onto treatment is a major hardship at the moment.

The country's only radiotherapy machine — indeed for a long while the only one in French-speaking West Africa — is broken. That's the machine whose radiation is used to treat primarily breast, head and neck tumors and bone cancer.

Picture a kaleidoscope of color and a medley of vivid African print cloth surging forward amid screams and weeping — for joy.

That was the magnificent and moving scene, Saturday, in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, as 82 former Chibok schoolgirls — now young women — were reunited with their mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles and other family members, after three years in Boko Haram captivity. Tears were streaming down their faces and gave way to broad smiles of happiness and relief after years of torment and trauma and missing their families.

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Along the Chari and Logone rivers separating Cameroon from Chad's capital, four flat-bottomed boats, mounted with machine guns, brimming with Chadian and other special forces, round the curve as they approach the riverbank.

Forming an assault force, heavily armed soldiers leap out of the vessels and race up a slope to take up positions while backup forces have their machine guns at the ready.

Marie-Victoire Carvalho Sow is busy in the annex to her kitchen in Dakar, dishing out giant ladles full of a traditional Senegalese Easter treat.

It's called ngalakh – a delectable mix of millet, groundnut (peanut) paste, bouye (the fruit of the baobab tree, which is also known locally as pain de singe or monkey bread), sugar, vanilla essence and orange blossom.

She says every year, Catholics make this special food for Good Friday and it's savored over Easter weekend.

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A prominent Muslim leader in Nigeria is making a point about a common practice in Islam. He says if people are worried about poverty or terrorism, they should consider how those problems can be made worse by polygamy. Here's NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton.

President Robert Mugabe turns 93 on Tuesday, making him the oldest president in Africa — and the world. He's the only leader most Zimbabweans have ever known, spending nearly 37 years at the helm since independence from Britain and the end of white minority rule in Rhodesia in April 1980.

Southern Africa is facing an invasion by an army — but not the sort of force you can defeat with ammunition. This foreign invader is an agricultural pest that is threatening the breadbasket of the region.

Zambian farmer Daniel Banda noticed in late December that something was munching through his crop of corn, destroying the maize fields on his small farm just outside the capital, Lusaka. Voracious caterpillars, known as fall armyworms, had nestled in the cobs and chomped through the leaves.

Some are calling it Nigeria's new "boy band." An "old boy band" would be more like it.

A new singing group that burst onto the Nigerian musical scene over the new year consists of senior citizens — a chorus of prominent past political and military leaders from Africa's most populous nation. And they're singing about peace, unity and goodwill in 2017.

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