Ofeibea Quist-Arcton

Ofeibea Quist-Arcton is an award-winning broadcaster from Ghana and is NPR's Africa Correspondent. She describes herself as a "jobbing journalist"—who's often on the hoof, reporting from somewhere.

She spent her early years in Ghana, Italy, Britain, and Kenya, and has lived and worked in Europe, the US, and all over Africa—most recently based in Senegal, traveling across the continent as a journalist, commentator, host, and media trainer.

After completing high school in Britain, she earned a degree in French studies with international relations and Spanish at the London School of Economics (LSE) and studied broadcast journalism at the University of Westminster, London.

Quist-Arcton joined the BBC reporter reserve in 1985, working at regional radio stations all over Britain, moving two years later to the renowned BBC World Service at Bush House in London. There, she served as a producer, reporter, editor, and host in the African Service. She traveled and reported across the continent.

She spent the year leading up to 1990 in Paris, on a BBC journalist exchange with Radio France International (RFI), mainly working with RFI's English (for Africa) Service as a host, reporter, and editor and in Monito, providing programs and content in French for radio stations in francophone Africa.

In 1990, Quist-Arcton won one of the BBC's coveted foreign correspondents' posts, moving to Abidjan, the commercial hub of Ivory Coast, to head the corporation's West Africa bureau. From there, she covered 24 countries, straddling the Sahara to the heart of the continent—crisscrossing Africa from Mauritania, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Mali, to then Zaire (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Congo-Brazzaville, via Chad, Equatorial Guinea, and Cameroon. She contributed to BBC outlets, covering the flowering of democracy in the region, as well as the outbreak of civil wars, revolutions and coups, while always keeping an eye on the "other" stories about Africa that receive minimal media attention—including the continent's rich cultural heritage. Quist-Arcton also contributed to NPR programs during her reporting assignment in west and central Africa.

After four years as the BBC's West Africa correspondent, she returned to Bush House in 1994 as a host and senior producer on the flagship World Service programs, Newshour & Newsday, and as a contributing regional specialist for other broadcast outputs including BBC Africa.

Quist-Arcton laced up her traveling shoes again in 1995 and relocated to Boston as a roving reporter for The World, a co-production between the BBC, Public Radio International (PRI), and WGBH. She lived in Cambridge and enjoyed getting to know Massachusetts and the rest of New England, learning a new language during winter (most of it related to snow).

For The World, she traveled around the United States, providing the program with an African journalist's perspective on North American life. In 1997, she spent six months as a roving Africa reporter for The World, covering—among other events—the fall of President Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire.

In 1998, after a stint back at BBC World Service, Quist-Arcton was appointed co-host of another BBC co-production—this time in Johannesburg, with the South African Broadcasting Corporation on the flagship radio drive-time show, PM Live.

In 2000, she left the BBC to join allAfrica.com (allAfricaGlobal Media) as Africa Correspondent and Bureau Chief, covering the continent's top stories, in all domains, and developing new radio shows for webcast and syndication to radio stations around the continent.

After six years in South Africa, Quist-Arcton joined NPR in 2004 heading the network's second Africa-based bureau and moving back to her home region of West Africa, this time to Senegal.

Quist-Arcton has spent the past 14 years reporting on the continent for NPR, covering a wealth of stories from the last years and funeral of Nelson Mandela and the funeral of his former wife, Winnie Madikizela Mandela, to the outbreak of Ebola in three West African nations and floating along the Congo River. She has received awards along the way including a Peabody and an Edward R. Murrow.

Quist-Arcton says sharing Africa's stories—good, great, creative, inspiring, humorous, bad, and ugly—is a privilege and an honor from a continent and peoples she admires and who have much to offer the world.

She also loves to engage with NPR's audience, especially youth and women, about Africa and how rich and varied the continent is.

Her passions are story-telling, African art, craft, culture, traditions, music, literature, open-air markets, antiques, and learning about the cultures and languages of the world. Quist-Arcton enjoys traveling (though not airports!) and meeting new people and renewing established acquaintances, while making fresh discoveries and delving into adventures. She also enjoys cycling, swimming, and photography.

It's World Refugee Day today, and the head of the UN's refugee agency, FiIippo Grandi, has released some startling statistics – starting with the fact that there are 65 million refugees, asylum seekers and displaced persons. That's a record number.

And behind every number, there is a story.

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Now to some good news from Nigeria. Authorities say one of the schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram two years ago is free. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton has been following the story and joins us now from Abuja, Nigeria. Hello, there.

Bourang Ba was a young farmer in Sitacourou — a sleepy village of scattered thatched roof dwellings where cattle chomp on hay in courtyards. Last year, the father of two set out for Europe, leaving behind his son, daughter and young wife, Nialina. Like his two half-brothers who had already migrated to Spain, he hoped to send money home for the family.

Bourang Ba never made it to Europe. He drowned in the Mediterranean en route.

"He wanted to do his bit and provide for his relatives, so he left without telling me," sobs Wassa Ba, Bourang Ba's father.

"We're not afraid of the terrorists," says Salimata Sylla.

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British prime minister David Cameron today told Parliament that the U.K. should join the U.S. and France in bombing raids on ISIS and Syria.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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And let's take a step back now to see what details we can get on this breaking - fast-breaking story there in Bomako, Mali. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton is following the details from London.

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We're tracking a hostage situation in Mali this morning. Two gunmen took over an upscale hotel - the Radisson Blu - in the capital Bamako. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton is following this story from London. And, Ofeibea, good morning, and what do we know?

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We're tracking a hostage situation in Mali today. Two gunmen took over an upscale hotel. The Radisson Blu is in the capital, Bamako. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton is following this story from London and joins us now. Good morning.

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In a speech marking Zimbabwe's National Heroes Day on Monday, President Robert Mugabe said Zimbabweans had failed in their responsibility to protect Cecil the lion.

"Even Cecil the lion is yours," he said. "He's dead, but he was yours to protect and you failed to protect him."

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On May Day, Zimbabwe's information minister, Jonathan Moyo, posted a bleak tweet, listing what he described as his country's triple challenge after the economic crash of 2007-2008: "We've workers without work, we've lost the sense of labour value and we lack a strategy to create wealth."

Zimbabweans lament that life is tough and everything is expensive in their U.S. dollar-based economy.

So how do people get by?

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Goodwill Zwelithini is the influential king of South Africa's Zulu nation. Comments that he made last month — when he reportedly said head lice should be squashed and foreigners should pack their belongings and leave the country — have been blamed for igniting attacks on foreigners, resulting in at least seven deaths. But Zwelithini denies inciting the violence.

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Would you kindly bear with me a little while I have a good old moan, please? I'm feeling rather wretched. No, not because I've finally kicked a lingering lurgy that turned out to be bronchitis and stole my voice. But because one of the reasons I blame for the illness is back: the Harmattan.

"Ebola — you have to do more," roars the barrel-bellied cleric El Hadj Mamadou Saliou Camara, with his white beard and mustache, in a snow-white boubou, the traditional flowing gown of West Africa.

That's the message he delivered over the weekend to hundreds of his fellow clerics, who gathered in Kindia, the third largest city in Guinea and a major crossroads. Many of the residents still blame Westerners for bringing the virus to their country.

Red, gold and green – Guinea's national colors — filled the streets of the capital, Conakry, early this morning. Guineans of all ages proudly wore the colors on their T-shirts, headbands, dresses and shorts. Children, with their cheeks and foreheads painted, ran around the street cheering, blowing whistles and waving their nation's flags.

But by 3 p.m. the streets were dead.

Hundreds of spectators and government officials watched as music and fanfare filled the People's Palace in Conakry, Guinea. Cheerleaders danced vigorously, waving pompoms and twirling on stage. The festive event on Saturday kicked off the government's newest campaign: zero Ebola cases in 60 days.

"Guineans talk too much. People resist even the idea that Ebola exists," said the prime minister, Mohamed Said Fofana, when he took the stage. "Why do we refuse to accept what others have accepted? We really must get a grip on the situation."

She is one of the African health workers who caught Ebola and died. Dr. Ameyo Adadevoh was the head of First Consultants Medical Centre in Lagos, Nigeria. In July, Liberian-American Patrick Sawyer flew sick to the city from Monrovia, ended up at her clinic and turned out to have Ebola. He wanted to leave. Dr. Adadevoh and her team refused to let him go — if she had, he could have triggered a wide-scale epidemic in Lagos, a city of 20 million people.

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