A mural of former South African president Nelson Mandela is seen at Regina Mundi church in Soweto

Nelson Mandela in hospital: South Africa holds its breath once more as co-defendant calls for nation to 'release' its hero

The former president’s co-defendant in trial said there was a possibility he would not be well again

Picture of a frail Nelson Mandela during a previous hospital visit

Nelson Mandela breathing unaided but remains in 'serious, stable' condition in hospital with lung infection

Former South African President Nelson Mandela is breathing unaided but remains in a “serious but stable” condition after being taken to a hospital to be treated for a recurring lung infection.

Happy Sindane

Happy Sindane murder: Man who claimed he was kept as white child slave in black township in South Africa is found 'stoned to death'

The 28-year-old had made international headlines in 2003, when he claimed to have been abducted from white parents and kept as a slave in a black township near Pretoria

Oscar Pistorius must provide authorities with his travel plans at least a week before he leaves South Africa

Oscar Pistorius free to compete in Moscow after bail conditions are changed to allow foreign travel

Relaxation of bail terms means runner accused of murder could participate in summer championships

Appeal over Oscar Pistorius bail conditions may lead to athlete competing abroad ahead of trial

Lawyers for Oscar Pistorius are appealing against some of the Olympic athlete's bail restrictions in a court in the South African capital today.

Oscar Pistorius is accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp

Oscar Pistorius 'twice called to interrupt innocent meeting between Reeva Steenkamp and her former long-term boyfriend in the days before her death'

News comes after Pistorius' close friend revealed the Olympian is 'on the verge of suicide'

Olympian Oscar Pistorius stands following his bail hearing, as his brother Carl, centre, and father Henke look on

Oscar Pistorius set to fight stringent bail conditions

Paralympian Oscar Pistorius will fight the stringent bail conditions set after he was charged with murdering his girlfriend, his defence team says.

MBA Blog: Micro-enterprises in South Africa

Little explanation is required as to why Johannesburg was the most subscribed destination for London Business School’s Global Business Experiences (GBE). The prospect of working with local entrepreneurs, having a tangible impact on real world business models, and coming in close contact with some fascinating wildlife, was too hard to resist.

Oscar Pistorius's older brother Carl also faces homicide trial over death of woman in car crash

Carl Pistorius faces charge of culpable homicide

Funeral held for Oscar Pistorius girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp

A tearful funeral was held today for model and law school graduate Reeva Steenkamp, with mourners calling for a harsh penalty for her boyfriend, Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius, who has been charged with her murder.

Live from Pretoria: Our man Daniel Howden tweets from Oscar Pistorius bail hearing

The Independent's Africa correspondent is one of the few Western journalists within the courtroom

Mamphela Ramphele at the launch of Agang yesterday

New political party formed to make 1990s dream reality

The launch of South Africa's newest political party today began with a nod to the past rather than the future. People were asked to remember the "patience and quiet dignity" of the long queues in 1994 when most South Africans got their first chance to vote. "Do you remember the dream we embraced to build ours into a great society?"

Everton’s Steven Pienaar has retired from international duty

Lucas Radebe warns that Premier League players will choose to miss national service

Lucas Radebe, the former Leeds United and South Africa captain, expects more Premier League players will follow Steven Pienaar and decide not to play in future African Cup of Nations because of its scheduling.

Our intrepid MBAs

MBA blog: A truly global business experience

Stepping off the plane in Johannesburg, I already had my flip flops on and was ready for a week-long vacation. I spent the previous few months on an academic exchange in cold Philadelphia, and was ready for sunshine.

John Mitchell was in charge of Sale for only five matches in a stint that began at the end of November

Aviva Premiership round-up: Sharks shaken by Mitchell's quick exit

Sale Sharks' poor and chaotic season has taken a turn for the worse with the departure of John Mitchell as head coach after only a month.

Arts and Entertainment
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Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there