‘Now Togo is free!’ – long lost photographs of newly liberated African nations

In the late 1950s, Todd Webb toured Africa – and captured a new spirit as the shackles of colonialism were cast off. Missing for decades, his extraordinary photographs are finally being published Betsy Evans Hunt wasn’t sure what to expect when, in 2015, she descended a staircase into a California basement. Her journey, thousands of […]

Terrawatch: the South Atlantic Anomaly – a growing weak spot in Earth’s magnetic field

Researchers have been studying this area for clues as to when the magnetic field might flip entirely Last year was a tumultuous one, but at least north is still north. Deep inside our planet liquid iron continues to flow the same way, generating a magnetic field that protects us against harmful radiation from the sun. […]

Why the world’s biggest mammal migration is crucial for Africa – photo essay

Up to 10 million straw-coloured fruit bats descend on Zambia’s Kasanka national park every year, dispersing millions of seeds as they go Words and photographs by Georgina Smith David Mubiana will always remember the day he was shot. It happened in 2002, when his unit was ambushed by poachers with AK-47 rifles and a shotgun. […]

‘It’s not weird or foreign’: the Ugandan monk bringing Buddhism to Africa – photo essay

Bhante Buddharakkhita, who became a Buddhist while studying in India, is on a mission to use mindfulness meditation to heal trauma Photographs by Eugénie Baccot As the first Ugandan Buddhist monk, the most venerable Bhante Bhikkhu Buddharakkhita has ambitions to train 54 novices, one for every African nation. “I’m teaching Theravada Buddhism with African flavour […]

Why is Ethiopia facing civil war? – video explainer

Hundreds have been killed and tens of thousands forced to flee their homes in Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous country, as federal troops battle rebels in the northern Tigray region.  The Guardian’s Jason Burke explains what sparked the conflict, why it threatens to destabilise the Horn of Africa – and examines how the prime minister, Abiy […]

Rise and fall of Ethiopia’s TPLF – from rebels to rulers and back

Bloody offensive aims to eliminate Tigray People’s Liberation Front, which dominated for nearly 30 years In the centre of Mekelle, the highland capital of Tigray, is a complex of memorials and museums. Under the hot sun, old armoured vehicles, jets and helicopters rust quietly. On the city’s wide avenues, statues commemorate the “martyrs” and the […]

Experience: I steal from museums

I don’t consider myself a thief but an activist. I believe these objects should be given back to the African people they were taken from I am a pan-African activist, campaigning for reparations for the crimes against African people committed during colonialism. Recently, I have taken matters into my own hands: I go to museums […]

#EndSars: why Nigerians are protesting against police brutality – video explainer

After days of fierce protests, Nigeria‘s government announced the dissolution of the infamous ‘Special Anti-Robbery Squad’, commonly called Sars, a police unit plagued with allegations of extrajudicial killings, theft and abuse – and in its place revealed plans to set up a Special Weapons and Tactics team called Swat to ‘fill the gaps’.  Amnesty International said […]

Joana Choumali: ‘I set my imagination free on the photographs’

The prize-winning Ivorian photographer captures the energy of dawn in images shot in African cities then embroidered Joana Choumali’s interest in photography began when, as a child in Abidjan in Ivory Coast, her family hired a local studio photographer to take a family portrait. “I was fascinated by how he handled the camera and the […]

Don’t look away now: are viewers finally ready for the truth about nature?

For decades David Attenborough delighted millions with tales of life on Earth. But now the broadcaster wants us to face up to the state of the planet Sir David Attenborough’s soothing, matter-of-fact narrations have brought the natural world to our living rooms for nearly seven decades and counting. From Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to the […]

A taste of honey: how bees mend fences between farmers and elephants

A pioneering method from Africa that protects farms from forest herds is now paying off in India, with more profit and less conflict Watchtowers in trees, tripwire alarms, radio collars, chilli smoke and beehive fences: scientists and conservationists across Asia and Africa are coming up with safe and humane ways to keep elephants at bay […]

From Malaysian duck rendang to east African sweetcorn and peanut: Ravinder Bhogal’s world curry recipes

These ‘proudly inauthentic’ curry recipes are the love children of migration and blended borders by way of east Africa, Thailand and Indonesia Wherever migrant cooks roam, they pick things up and leave others behind. They cross so many borders that their food repertoire becomes vast, seasoned with the intonations of many cultures. These dishes are […]

‘Human swan’ to take flight on new mission to follow migrating ospreys

Conservationist Sacha Dench will also log marine mammals she sees from her paramotor on the 7,000km journey across Europe and Africa Sacha Dench is not one to sit still. Known to many as “the human swan” for her record-breaking journey tracking migrating swans in a motorised paraglider, the conservationist and adventurer is planning her next […]

Cloud cuckoo land? How one bird’s epic migration stunned scientists

When Onon the common cuckoo took off from Mongolia last June no one expected him to make a 26,000km round trip to southern Africa When Onon took off above the rolling hills of the Khurkh valley in Mongolia last June, researchers had no idea if they would see him alive again. Along with one oriental […]

The vultures aren’t hovering over Africa – and that’s bad news

Unlovely and unloved, vultures play a vital role as nature’s clean-up squad but are now one of the most threatened groups of birds on the planet It’s hard to love vultures. Their bare-headed appearance, scavenging habits and reputation as the refuse disposal workers of the bird world rarely endear them to a public who prefer […]

What we will miss most about life in lockdown

As governments around the world begin to ease lockdown, people in Africa and the Middle East tell us what they will miss most about life in self-isolation Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Lama Nadra reads at home in Tyre, Lebanon; and the view she has of the city Continue reading…

Florence Baker: the polyglot slave girl turned intrepid explorer

The Transylvanian-born orphan was sold to an English traveller, with whom she discovered the wonders of Africa, married and fought to abolish slavery Passport detailsLady Florence Baker, née Flora Barbara Maria von Szász, or Sass. Born 6 August 1841 in Nagyenyed, then in the Kingdom of Hungary, now Aiud in present-day Romania. Claim to fameThe […]

Mory Kanté obituary

Singer and songwriter whose 1980s hit Yéké Yéké was Africa’s first million-selling single Mory Kanté, who has died aged 70 from untreated health problems, was a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and one of west Africa’s most versatile and commercially successful musical pioneers. A national hero in Guinea, Kanté came from a jali or griot family of […]

Snipers, stylists and Staff Benda Bilili: Andy Hall’s Africa – in pictures

For decades, the Observer photographer Andy Hall has documented major events and daily life throughout Africa – from the Cuban withdrawal from Angola and the last days of apartheid to music, the obsession with football and the effects of climate change Continue reading…

‘Doctor diplomacy’: Cuba seeks to make its mark in Europe amid Covid-19 crisis

Italy’s worst-hit areas welcome medical brigades, but critics say they are being exploited by Cuba’s authoritarian regime Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage They have jetted into some of the most horrifying calamities in recent history, clutching the red, white and blue flag of their small island home. Earthquakes in Indonesia and […]

NK Jemisin: ‘It’s easier to get a book set in black Africa published if you’re white’

The three-time Hugo award winner is one of the biggest names in modern scifi. She talks about overcoming racism to rewrite the future In 2018, NK Jemisin became the first writer ever to win three consecutive Hugo best novel awards for science fiction and fantasy. Her first award had been in 2016, for her novel […]

Namibia’s youngest MP enters the crucible as Africa’s youth lead the way

Her ascent to a cabinet position at the age of 23 took her by surprise. Yet across southern Africa, young leaders like Emma Theofelus are on the rise One of Africa’s youngest cabinet members to date is experiencing a baptism of fire. Emma Theofelus, 23, was appointed Namibia’s information, communication and technology deputy minister a […]

‘Race against time’ to prevent famines during coronavirus crisis

UN calls for international solidarity to ease effects of Covid-19 on food security Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Vulnerable parts of the developing world, particularly in Africa, are at risk of sliding into famine as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, while humanitarian relief efforts are being hindered by lockdowns and […]

Opportunity or threat? How Islamic extremists are reacting to coronavirus

Groups such as Isis plan to exploit pandemic, but even it has acknowledged danger posed by virus Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Islamic extremists hope to exploit the Covid-19 pandemic to launch new attacks, motivate followers and reinforce their credentials as alternative rulers of swaths of unstable countries across the Middle […]

Second wave of locusts in east Africa ’20 times worse’, says UN

UN warns of ‘alarming and unprecedented threat’ to food security and livelihoods in the region A second wave of desert locusts is threatening east Africa with estimates that it will be 20 times worse then the plague that descended two months ago. The locusts present “an extremely alarming and unprecedented threat” to food security and […]

Kenya is mobilising against coronavirus – but like the rest of Africa we need help | Kennedy Odede

Homegrown efforts are boosting preparedness, but they need to be strengthened before the pandemic gathers force When Covid-19 hits Africa, will we be ready? This was a distant thought just one month ago. Now, as cases climb, we are braced for impact. As the crisis deepens in the world’s largest economies, taking up most of […]

My favourite film aged 12: Mean Girls

Continuing our series in which writers revisit childhood movie passions, we revisit Tina Fey’s endlessly quotable teen comedy – or was it really a horror? • The best arts and entertainment during self-isolation The thing about being a teenage girl and having a favourite film that’s also about teenage girls is that even if you’re […]