Alex Duval Smith

Alex Duval Smith is a freelance foreign correspondent based in South Africa

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Chinua Achebe writing in his office at Brown University in 2012

Chinua Achebe: Novelist and dissident whose work reclaimed Africa's history

Chinua Achebe, the Nigerian author and dissident who has died at the age of 82, learnt early in life that words can lead to a lot of pain. It happened when he was at secondary school in colonial Nigeria. Turning to a fellow pupil, he asked in his native Igbo language: ''Nyefe M ncha ahu'' [pass me the soap]. For not using English, Achebe's English headmaster gave him a beating he remembered all his life.

The girls who fled a life of sex slavery

Abducted girls are finding refuge and rehabilitation in an academy in Uganda

South Africa is home to about 20,000 rhinos

Poachers' trade in rhino horn is 'pushing species into decline'

Demand in Far East for horn's medicinal qualities drives killings to record levels

Using Rwanda as inspiration, the President of the former French-speaking nation wants to introduce English to give it “the best opportunities”

Frosty relations with Hollande see Gabon break the French connection

President swaps colonial language for English after being inspired by Rwanda's example

Julius Malema on corruption and fraud charges

The renegade politician Julius Malema will appear in court on fraud, money laundering and corruption charges next week.

President Zuma was greeted with cheers at the congress of the mainstream union confederation

Marikana miners end strike after agreeing a 22 per cent pay deal

Striking platinum miners agreed to go back to work last night, ending a six-week industrial dispute that claimed 43 lives and put President Jacob Zuma's government under severe strain.

Miners welcome co-workers released from jail yesterday

Peace accord fails to end mining strike

South African workers demand talks on pay before accepting agreement

Striking platinum mineworkers protest after negotiations at Lonmin’s Marikana mine

South Africa mine shootings: 'Police are against us. That's apartheid'

The South African force's killing of 34 striking miners, and the arrest of hundreds more, are all too reminiscent of the bad old days of white rule, victims' families tell Alex Duval Smith

Angolan President set for win

The ruling party of Angolan President Eduardo Dos Santos looked to be headed for an easy parliamentary election win yesterday.

South Africa: Minister objects to mass miners charge

Justice Minister demands prosecutors explain applying apartheid-era 'common purpose' law
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Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own