The African National Congress (ANC), the former liberation movement that has been South Africa’s governing party since democracy in 1994, is driving the process of establishing a government of national unity. This follows the humiliating loss of its parliamentary majority in the 2024 general election. Roger Southall argues that, with only 40% of the vote, the ANC can no longer claim to be the voice of South Africans.

All the world’s baobab trees originated in Madagascar, a new study has found. The research concluded that as storms swept the island, baobab seeds and seedlings were washed into rivers and then out to sea, eventually landing in different parts of the world, including mainland Africa. Seeds were then dispersed across the continent, as far as Senegal, in the dung of elephants.

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Thabo Leshilo

Politics + Society

Death of a liberation movement: how South Africa’s ANC became just a regular political party – with some help from Jacob Zuma

Roger Southall, University of the Witwatersrand

Never has the future of South Africa’s politics been more uncertain, but the one certainty is that the ANC’s standing as a liberation movement is dead.

Baobab trees all come from Madagascar – new study reveals that their seeds and seedlings floated to mainland Africa and all the way to Australia

Andrew R. Leitch, Queen Mary University of London

New research has found that the world’s baobab trees all evolved on Madagascar 21 million years ago. Sometime in the last 12 million years, they floated on piles of debris to Australia and Africa.

Environment + Energy


South Africa elections: Zuma’s MK Party steals the ANC’s thunder with provocative rhetoric and few clear policies

Mashupye Herbert Maserumule, Tshwane University of Technology

Zuma’s uMkhonto weSizwe is now the largest party in KwaZulu-Natal and the fourth biggest nationally.

Business + Economy

Africa doesn’t have a choice between economic growth and protecting the environment: how they can go hand in hand

Lite Nartey, INSEAD

African countries need to find an alternative that acknowledges that sustainable development and economic growth are interdependent.

Arts, Culture + Society

Health + Medicine

Sierra Leone’s bushmeat markets pose serious health hazards – we studied two for six months to find solutions

Jack Jenkins, Durham University; Hannah Brown, Durham University; Tommy Matthew Hanson, Njala University; Wahab Lawundeh, University of Basel

Reducing risk requires moving beyond heavy-handed solutions like banning bushmeat, and instead focusing on making markets safer.


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