Ofeibea Quist-Arcton

Ofeibea Quist-Arcton is a journalist and broadcaster from Ghana who reports for NPR News on issues and developments related to West Africa. She spent her early years in Ghana, Italy, Britain and Kenya.

Quist-Arcton has lived and worked in the U.K., France, Ivory Coast, U.S., South Africa and most recently Senegal, traveling all over Africa as a journalist, broadcaster, commentator and host.

After completing high school in Britain, she took a degree in French studies with international relations and Spanish at the London School of Economics (LSE) and went on to study radio journalism at the Polytechnic of Central London, with two internships at the BBC.

Quist-Arcton joined the BBC in 1985, working at a number of regional radio stations all over Britain, moving two years later to the renowned BBC World Service at Bush House in London, as a producer and host in the African Service. She traveled and reported throughout Africa.

She spent the year leading up to 1990 in Paris, on a BBC journalist exchange with Radio France International (RFI), working in "Monito" — a service supplying reports and interviews about Africa to African radio stations, and with RFI's English (for Africa) Service as a host, reporter and editor.

Later in 1990, Quist-Arcton won one of the BBC's coveted foreign correspondents posts, moving to Abidjan, 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 the continent from Mauritania, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Mali, to Zaire and Congo-Brazzaville, via Chad, Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon. She contributed to all BBC radio and television 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 BBC West Africa correspondent, she returned to Bush House in 1994, as a host and senior producer on the BBC World Service flagship programs, Newshour & Newsday (now The World Today), and as a contributing Africa specialist for other radio and TV output.

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. She also spent six months as a roving Africa reporter, covering — among other events — the fall of President Mobutu Sese Seko in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) in 1997.

In 1998, after another stint back at BBC World Service, Quist-Arcton was appointed co-host of the South African Broadcasting Corporation's flagship radio drive-time show, PM Live, based in Johannesburg.

In 2000, she left the BBC to join allAfrica.com (allAfricaGlobal Media) as Africa correspondent, 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 November 2004 at the newly-created post of West Africa Correspondent, moving back to her home region, with a new base in Senegal.

Her passions are African art and culture, music, literature, open-air markets, antiques - and learning. She loves to travel and enjoys cycling and photography.

Pages

Africa
4:16 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Rescuers Deliver Most, But Not All, Nigerian Schoolgirls To Safety

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 6:20 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Read more
Africa
7:56 am
Sat April 12, 2014

Guineans Scramble To Defend Themselves Against Deadly Virus

Originally published on Sat April 12, 2014 11:26 am

A recent outbreak of Ebola in Guinea has the country on edge. Guineans have never experienced the deadly virus, and are learning quickly how to protect themselves.

Shots - Health News
11:59 am
Fri April 11, 2014

How A Person Can Recover From Ebola

Testing for Ebola, a scientist in a mobile lab at Gueckedou, Guinea, separates blood cells from plasma cells to isolate the virus's genetic sequence.
Misha Hussain Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri April 11, 2014 1:38 pm

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.

Read more
Shots - Health News
1:51 am
Fri April 11, 2014

The Ebola Survivors: Reborn But Not Always Embraced

Rose Komano, 18 and the mother of three, was the first Ebola patient to overcome the virus in southeastern Guinea, the epicenter of the outbreak. On April 3, she posed at a health clinic in the Gueckedou region.
Misha Hussain Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri April 11, 2014 1:32 pm

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.

Read more
Shots - Health News
3:25 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

The Ebola Outbreak 3 Weeks In: Dire But Not Hopeless

The new normal in Guinea is washing hands with a mixture of water and bleach--shown here at the border entrance of Buruntuma, in the Gabu area on Tuesday.
Tiago Petinga EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 7:06 am

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.

Read more
News
2:16 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Facing Ebola Outbreak, Officials Must Contain Both Virus And Panic

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 5:28 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Dozens of deaths are reported in Guinea in West Africa, the results of the Ebola virus. Health officials and aid agencies are working to contain both the disease and panic about the outbreak. We'll explore the origins of the deadly virus in a moment. First, NPR Africa correspondent Ofeibea Quist-Arcton on the outbreak.

Read more
Africa
2:28 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

On Streets In Senegal, Thousands Of Boys Are Forced To Beg

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 4:20 pm

Human Rights Watch is urging Senegal to implement a law criminalizing forced begging. Many families are misled into entrusting their children to people acting as Islamic teachers, who then exploit thousands of young boys.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Read more
Parallels
3:00 am
Sat March 15, 2014

U.S. Ambassador Speaks Pidgin English; Nigerians Love It

James F. Entwistle, the U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, speaks pidgin English during an interview with Wazobia FM in Nigeria.
Wazobia FM

Originally published on Sat March 15, 2014 9:32 am

Read more
Africa
3:02 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Nigeria Pressed To Do More For Civilians Caught In Insurgency

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 7:17 am

Militants seeking to create an Islamic state in northern Nigeria have killed 150 people in attacks in the last 4 days. The Boko Haram sect launched its uprising in 2009 but has ramped up its violence.

Africa
3:01 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Musicians Tell Central African Republic It's Time For Peace

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 5:43 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Central African Republic has a new interim president, and she is pledging to reunite her divided nation. It won't be easy to end months of interreligious violence and anarchy. The Senegalese singing superstar Youssou N'Dour hopes things work out. He's teamed up with an artist from CAR to record a song for peace. Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports.

YOUSSOU N'DOUR AND IDYLLE MAMBA: (Singing in foreign language)

Read more
Africa
2:43 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Caretaker President Hopes To Steer The CAR Toward Peace

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 3:32 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. Central African Republic's new caretaker president was sworn in today. She is the first woman to hold the post and assumes control at a low point for this chronically unstable country. A coup last year led to an unprecedented explosion of violence and killings despite the presence of African and French peacekeepers.

Read more
Africa
7:01 am
Sat December 28, 2013

In Conflict-Torn Africa, Senegal Shows A Way To Religious Harmony

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 9:35 am

Inter-religious tensions have been in the headlines in parts of Africa lately. Christian-Muslim clashes have left many dead in places like Nigeria and Central African Republic. But there are also examples of peaceful inter-religious co-existence in Africa, such as Senegal.

Africa
3:08 am
Mon December 16, 2013

South Africa Lays Mandela To Rest Near His Childhood Home

It's National Reconciliation Day in South Africa — an annual public holiday. The country is marking it for the first time without Nelson Mandela. On Sunday, South Africa bid a final, emotional goodbye to Mandela.

Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013
5:05 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

South Africans Reflect On Mandela's 'Rainbow Nation'

A South African boy stands in front of a mural of Nelson Mandela in Soweto, South Africa, earlier this month.
Veronique Tadjo for NPR

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 5:39 pm

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.

Read more
Africa
4:42 am
Thu December 12, 2013

South Africans Say Goodbye To Mandela In Pretoria

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 6:00 am

Nelson Mandela is lying in state for a second day in South Africa's capital, Pretoria. It's a chance for one last glimpse of the country's most beloved leader. The remote location of Sunday's burial — far away in Mandela's home province — means that for most, filing past his casket is their final farewell.

Africa
2:46 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Nelson Mandela Lies In State In Pretoria Before Sunday Burial

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 4:26 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Yesterday, the world's leaders paid tribute to Nelson Mandela. Now, the people have their turn. Mandela is lying in state in Pretoria to allow South Africans to bid him a personal farewell. Thousands of mourners filed past the half-open casket. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports the clouds and showers at yesterday's memorial have lifted.

Read more
The Two-Way
5:03 am
Wed December 11, 2013

As Mandela Lies In State, South Africa Says Goodbye

Graca Machel bids farewell to her husband, Nelson Mandela, whose body lay in state Wednesday at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
Marco Longari AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 11:13 am

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.

Read more
Africa
4:56 am
Wed December 11, 2013

South Africans Line The Streets For Mandela Procession

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 8:10 am

Renee Montagne talks with Ofeibea Quist-Arcton about South Africa's 10-day goodbye to Nelson Mandela. His body will lie in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, the scene of his presidential inauguration in 1994.

Africa
2:29 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Global Dignitaries Join Thousands Of South Africans To Say Goodbye To Mandela

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 10:30 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. Song and dance were center stage today at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela. Persistent rain did little to dampen the spirits as tens of thousands of people paid homage to South Africa's former leader. Mandela died last Thursday at age 95. Among those present at today's service were four American presidents: Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Read more
Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013
5:47 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Obama Calls For Self-Reflection On Mandela's 'Heroic Life'

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 10:11 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. At a soccer stadium in South Africa before a crowd notable for its dancing and for the umbrellas it is holding up against the rain, President Obama is speaking in a memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela. He said just a moment ago: The world thanks you for sharing Nelson Mandela with us. And let's listen to a little bit more of the president today.

Read more
Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013
5:29 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Mandela Memorial Service Underway In South Africa

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 10:11 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

We're also following the news today from South Africa, where tens of thousands of people - including some 100 world leaders - are at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela. It's underway now at a giant soccer stadium, and NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton is there. And, Ofeibea, what's happening?

Read more
Africa
3:33 pm
Sat December 7, 2013

South Africans Mourn Mandela, Celebrate His Life

Originally published on Sat December 7, 2013 4:33 pm

South Africa's official period of mourning for former President Nelson Mandela will culminate in his funeral a week from Sunday. Mandela's death left South Africans with "a sense of profound and enduring loss," says the nation"s president, Jacob Zuma. His compatriots, as well as foreign visitors, are flocking in homage to the Mandela homes in Soweto and Johannesburg.

Africa
2:45 am
Thu November 28, 2013

Nigerian City Recovers After Militants Are Driven Out

Originally published on Thu November 28, 2013 3:17 am

The northeastern city Maiduguri is the birthplace of the Islamist militant movement Boko Haram. Until earlier this year, when President Goodluck Jonathan imposed a state of emergency in three northeastern states, the extremists regularly hit targets there.

Africa
2:32 am
Wed November 20, 2013

In Nigeria's Bloody Fight, Who's Gaining The Upper Hand?

Men walk amid rubble after Boko Haram militants raided the town of Benisheik in northeast Nigeria, on Sept. 19. The Islamist group has been waging an insurgency in northern and central Nigeria for the past four years and was recently placed on the U.S. list of terrorist groups.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 8:51 am

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.

Read more
Africa
2:03 am
Fri October 18, 2013

Nigerian Civilians Caught In Crackdown On Islamists

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 10:23 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In Nigeria an Islamist insurgency has claimed thousands of lives, most of them civilians. The Nigerian president imposed a security crackdown last spring in a bid to end the uprising. Now Amnesty International is out with a report warning that more than 950 people have died in military detention in Nigeria in just the first half of this year. And the attacks continue. NPR's West Africa correspondent, Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, reports from, Lagos.

Read more
Crime In The City
1:26 am
Mon September 2, 2013

Hardcore With A Heart: Joburg Thrillers Star A Spunky P.I.

Jassy Mackenzie was born in Rhodesia and moved to South Africa when she was eight years old. She edits and writes for the annual publication Best of South Africa.
Soho Crime

Originally published on Mon September 2, 2013 2:45 am

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!"

Read more
Africa
2:52 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Opposition Claims Zimbabwe Elections Were Manipulated

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 4:05 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The people of Zimbabwe cast ballots today for their next president. It's a two-horse race. Longtime president Robert Mugabe is once again being challenged by opposition leader and prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai. Violence and fear that followed an election five years ago have eased, but the opposition is again making claims that the election has been manipulated.

NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton is in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Foreign language spoken)

Read more
Africa
2:42 am
Wed July 17, 2013

Holding Zimbabwe's Leaders Accountable Through Poetry

Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 3:13 am

As Zimbabwe prepares for hotly contested elections later this month, there's pressure on politicians to avoid violence and follow through on promises. One group making sure the country's leaders do what they promised is the group Zimbabwe Poets for Human Rights.

Africa
2:43 pm
Thu July 4, 2013

Zimbabwe Braces For Upcoming Elections

Originally published on Thu July 4, 2013 7:59 pm

After years of food shortages and drought, in a country that was once the breadbasket of southern Africa, Zimbabwe's crippled economy is recovering — after adopting the U.S. dollar as its currency. But memories of the violent elections in 2008 are fueling fears about security. The disputed vote ended in a power-sharing deal between President Robert Mugabe and his main opposition rival. The Zimbabwean leader has now proclaimed July 31 as election day.

Africa
2:59 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

World Watches As Nelson Mandela Remains Hospitalized

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 3:44 pm

Nelson Mandela, the former South African president revered around the world, remains in a Pretoria hospital. His condition has improved slightly — though still critical, he is now "stable." His family is near, some of them angered by the army of reporters who have gathered near the hospital. President Obama, on a three country tour of Africa, arrives in South Africa on Friday.

Pages