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.

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Oh no! Snails are getting a bad name in the U.S.

I'm not talking about the delicate garlic-and-butter escargots that the French favor and savor.

It's giant African land snails, also known as Archachatina marginata, banana rasp snails or a number of other names they go by.

There's growing concern in West Africa about the spread of the Ebola virus that has killed hundreds of people. Health ministers have formed a regional response, but fear and a lack of knowledge about Ebola threaten their efforts.

Liberian musicians are joining the campaign, taking to song to educate people about the Ebola virus. Their tune is called "Ebola in Town," and warns people to beware of close contact with those who fall ill. The song warns, "Don't touch your friend."

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At least eight Ebola patients in Guinea have beaten the odds. They have recovered and been sent home. In past outbreaks, the death rate has been as high as 90 percent. In Guinea so far, about 60 percent of the 157 suspected cases have ended in death.

They call them the "Lazarus" cases, after the Biblical character who died but was revived by Jesus. They are survivors of the latest outbreak of Ebola.

Ebola often grabs global headlines as the killer virus that can result in a death rate of up to 90 percent. But in Guinea, the death rate in the current outbreak has been about 60 percent. So there are survivors — to the delight of the overworked doctors, health workers and, of course, the patients who have recovered.

Guinea is on high alert. At the international airport, travelers' temperatures are monitored for signs of infection. In the capital city of Conakry, people rarely shake hands and are advised to regularly wash their hands with bleach-diluted water.

This is what life is like nearly three weeks after an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus.

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At the 1964 trial that convicted Nelson Mandela and his co-accused, and sent them to prison for life, he made a statement to the packed courthouse, which he repeated on his release in 1990, after 27 years in detention.

Amid a solemn atmosphere, the body of Nelson Mandela lay in state Wednesday at an amphitheater in South Africa's capital of Pretoria, the exact spot where he was sworn in as the country's first black president in 1994, reconciling a land that had been torn by racial divisions for centuries.

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For four years, the Islamist militants of Boko Haram have been waging a deadly campaign in northern and central Nigeria, killing thousands of people. In response, the Nigerian military is cracking down on the group, and the United States last week designated Boko Haram a terrorist organization.

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South Africa's commercial capital, Johannesburg, is a mixture of the old Wild West and a complex, modern African hub — at least, that's how crime novelist Jassy Mackenzie describes it. Mackenzie was born across the border, in Zimbabwe, but she moved to Johannesburg — Joburg for short — as a child, and she's a passionate champion of the city.

"I love the energy of Johannesburg," Mackenzie says. "People are open. People communicate. People are friendly in a brash, big-city way, which I love. ... [it's] the New York of South Africa!"

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Zimbabweans vote for a new president Wednesday, after a violent and disputed election in 2008 and five anxious and turbulent years since.

The much anticipated vote ends a power-sharing deal between veteran leader Robert Mugabe and his main political rival, who is the leading challenger in the presidential race.

It's been dubbed Guptagate. The real-life story reads like a Hollywood — or Bollywood — script, and it's dominating the national conversation in South Africa.

It starts with a high-society wedding in South Africa, organized by three wealthy, well-connected and influential brothers named Gupta from India. Then the scandal begins: A private jet flies in 200 guests — including Bollywood stars — from India, landing at a restricted air force security base in Pretoria, allegedly without the appropriate clearance.

The young women training to be mechanics at Nigeria's Lady Mechanic Initiative wear navy overalls and work boots and their hair is tucked under customized red caps as they repair vehicles in a garage. Customers come and go, dropping off and collecting their cars. Trainee Enogie Osagie says she faced great resistance at home when she started.

In South Africa, controversial images of a frail and ashen Nelson Mandela being visited by South Africa's current president aired on national television this week. Some people claimed it was a political publicity stunt.

The footage is fueling fresh debate about what is proper and what constitutes invasion of privacy regarding the ailing, 94-year-old former president and anti-apartheid legend.

President Jacob Zuma, accompanied by two other top officials of the governing ANC party, visited Mandela at his Johannesburg home on Monday.

Numbers are down at the American International School in Bamako, the capital of Mali.

In just over a year, the country has witnessed a rebellion, a military coup and the occupation by Islamist fighters of the desert northern region, recently largely liberated in a counteroffensive by French-led forces. Despite the troubles, the school is open and classes continue.

Teacher Paul Chandler is taking his combined class of 6th- and 7th-graders through their early paces, learning the Malian music they'll be performing at the annual school concert.

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NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports from Lagos, Nigeria, on the death of one of Africa's greatest contemporary writers. Quoting his publisher, AP, CNN, and the BBC are reporting Chinua Achebe has died.

Chinua Achebe who taught at colleges in the United States made literary history with his 1958 best-seller Things Fall Apart, a sobering tale about Nigeria at the beginning of its colonization.

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The city of Timbuktu is free...

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