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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Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss
Tony Blair joins a strange and exclusive club of political leaders whose careers have been blighted by the Middle East

Blair has joined a strange and exclusive club

A new tomb has just gone up in the Middle East's graveyard of US and British political reputations, says Patrick Cockburn
Election 2015: Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May

Election 2015

Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May
Countdown to the election: Operation Save Danny Alexander shifts into high gear as the SNP target his Commons seat

Operation Save Danny Alexander shifts into high gear

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury didn’t forget his Highland roots in the Budget. But the SNP is after his Commons seat
The US economy is under threat because of its neglected infrastructure

The US is getting frayed at the edges

Public spending on infrastructure is only half of Europe’s, and some say the nation’s very prosperity is threatened, says Rupert Cornwell
Mad Men final episodes: Museum exhibition just part of the hoopla greeting end of 1960s-set TV hit

New Yorkers raise a glass to Mad Men

A museum exhibition is just part of the hoopla greeting the final run of the 1960s-set TV hit
Land speed record: British-built hybrid rocket car aims to be the fastest on Earth

British-built hybrid rocket car aims to be the fastest on Earth

Bloodhound SSC will attempt to set a new standard in South Africa's Kalahari desert
Housebuilders go back to basics by using traditional methods and materials

Housebuilders go back to basics - throwing mud at the wall until it sticks

Traditional materials are ticking all the construction boxes: they are cheap, green – and anyone can use them
Daniel Brühl: 'When you have success abroad, you become a traitor. Envy is very German'

Daniel Brühl: 'Envy is very German'

He's got stick for his golden acting career and for his beloved restaurant - but Daniel Brühl is staying put in Berlin (where at least the grannies love him)
How Leica transformed photography for ever: Celebrating 100 years of the famous camera

Celebrating 100 years of Leica

A new book reveals how this elegant, lightweight box of tricks would transform the way we saw life on the street and in fashion, on the battlefield and across the world