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.

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Music Interviews
9:51 am
Sat April 20, 2013

An American In Mali, Teaching The Country's Sounds

Sara Nimaga plays the balafon in Paul Chandler's music class at the American International School in Bamako, Mali.
Ofeibea Quist-Arcton NPR

Originally published on Mon April 22, 2013 8:33 am

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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Africa
5:24 am
Thu April 4, 2013

South Africans: Why Were Paratroopers In Central African Republic?

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

South Africa says its military is done trying to police another African country. Late last night, South Africans said they would withdraw their small military force from the Central African Republic. Ten days ago, rebels advanced on the capital of that country and killed 13 South African paratroopers. That prompted many South Africans to ask why the soldiers were there at all. The question here is whether the troops were protecting business interests linked to South Africa's governing party.

NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports.

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Africa
4:42 am
Mon April 1, 2013

Nelson Mandel's Condition Seems To Be Improving

Originally published on Mon April 1, 2013 6:24 am

Public expressions of concern are on full display as South Africans monitor the hospitalization of anti-apartheid hero and former president Nelson Mandela. The 94 year old is being treated for pneumonia.

Remembrances
10:55 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Nigeria's Outspoken Writer Chinua Achebe Dies At 82

Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe, who played a critical role in establishing post-colonial African literature, has died. The author of Things Fall Apart was 82.

The Two-Way
8:29 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Chinua Achebe, Nigerian Author Of 'Things Fall Apart,' Dies

Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe in January 2009.
Abayomi Adeshida AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 1:45 pm

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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Music Interviews
4:58 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Baba Salah: A Malian Musician Speaks To His Nation's Displaced

Baba Salah at his home in Bamako, Mali. On his new album, Dangay, he calls attention to what he describes as human-rights violations in the north.
Ed Alcock Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 8:33 pm

It's Friday night in Bamako, and a club in the Malian capital has come alive. Guitarist and singer Baba Salah is on the floor.

His hometown of Gao, along the banks of the River Niger on the fringes of the Sahara Desert, made headlines as the first city in the north to be liberated by French-backed Malian forces in January. Gao was one of three regional centers in the north captured by rebels and jihadis a year ago. Islamists warned musicians that their tongues would be sliced out if they continued to sing and play. Speaking in French, Salah says artists left in a hurry.

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Africa
5:15 am
Tue March 5, 2013

Fastjet Brings High-Frequency, Low-Cost Flights To Africa

Originally published on Tue March 5, 2013 5:18 am

The first pan-African budget airline took to the skies in late November with a series of flights in Tanzania. Fastjet's aim is to offer a low-cost alternative to passengers accustomed to uncertain and costly air travel.

Sports
4:47 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Pistorius Granted Bail After Prosecution Is Criticized For Sloppy Case

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 6:47 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block. Oscar Pistorius is free on bail. That's after a dramatic four-day hearing that's gripped South Africa. The star athlete with two prosthetic legs is accused of murdering his girlfriend. And the bail hearing was a tense battle over whether the killing was premeditated murder or a tragic accident. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports now on today's bail decision by the magistrate.

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Religion
5:18 am
Sat February 16, 2013

Pope's Resignation An Opportunity For Africa's Cardinals

Priest Anthony Obanla says Mass at a church in Lagos, Nigeria. In Africa, where the Catholic Church continues to grow, worshipers and clergy hope to see one of their own rise to lead the faithful.
Sunday Alamba AP

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 10:03 pm

The names of African cardinals are popping up as possible contenders to succeed Pope Benedict as head of the Roman Catholic Church when he steps down at the end of the month.

The Mary Mother of Good Council School is one of a number of respected Roman Catholic schools overseen by the archdiocese of Accra, the capital of the West African nation of Ghana. The Metropolitan archbishop of Accra, Charles Palmer-Buckle, who trained as a priest at pontifical universities in Rome, is upbeat about the continent's contribution to the Catholic Church.

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Sports
5:40 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

'Blade Runner' Athlete Charged With Murder Of Girlfriend

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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

Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee who made history last year by competing in the London Olympic Games, is in the headlines for a very different reason today. The South African runner and Paralympic athlete, known as the Blade Runner, is facing charges of murder. This, after his girlfriend was shot to death at his home in Pretoria early this morning.

NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports.

(SOUNDBITE OF A NEWS CLIP)

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Africa
5:26 am
Mon February 11, 2013

Insurgents In Northern Mali Launch Guerrilla Attacks

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 6:50 am

It appears that the conflict in northern Mali is entering a new stage — insurgency.

Africa
4:37 pm
Sun February 3, 2013

Allegations Of Human Rights Abuse Abound In Mali

Originally published on Sun February 3, 2013 6:16 pm

As Malian forces backed by French and African troops have retaken the West African nation's contested northern region, there have been allegations of human rights abuses. Human Rights organizations accuse the Malian army of summary executions, among other abuses.

Africa
6:29 am
Thu January 31, 2013

African Forces May Have Trouble Holding On To French Gains

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 8:38 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

On a Thursday it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. The first phase of the French-led military intervention in Mali appears to be over. Radical Islamist fighters have been driven from the last major town they seized control of last year.

INSKEEP: France would like to step back now and play a supporting role for Malian troops and allied African forces. But as NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports from Mali's capital, the biggest challenges really begin now.

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Africa
5:21 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Timbuktu Freed From Islamist Fighters

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 8:36 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

The city of Timbuktu is free...

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Mali, Mali, Mali, Mali...

INSKEEP: ...and residents cheered as French and Malian forces entered the city. Those forces swept aside Islamist rebels who'd controlled the place for months. The Islamists rule included amputations and the destroyed ancient tombs. It ended with the burning of a library housing priceless manuscripts.

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Africa
6:55 am
Sun January 27, 2013

In Fight Against Extremists, Mali Is Far From Alone

Originally published on Sun January 27, 2013 11:05 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. The French-led military intervention in Mali is picking up momentum in the campaign to help the Malian government recapture Islamist-occupied strongholds in the north. And while French airpower has tipped the scales in the Malian government's favor, the question now is whether Mali's beleaguered army is up to the fight. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports from Bamako, Mali's capital city in the south.

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Africa
4:22 am
Tue January 15, 2013

Mali Update

Originally published on Tue January 15, 2013 7:03 am

The French military continues its bombing raids in Northern Mali, where extremists, including an al-Qaida affiliate, have taken over. The French have pummeled rebel positions from the air, backing up Mali's beleaguered army on the ground.

Africa
3:25 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Clinics Come To The Rescue Of Ethiopia's Overworked Donkeys

A donkey bitten by a hyena is checked by a veterinarian as the owner calms the animal at The Donkey Sanctuary, a clinic near Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, in 2005.
Boris Heger AP

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 8:32 pm

In Ethiopia, the donkey is more than just a beast of burden.

The Horn of Africa nation is home to more than 6 million donkeys and comes second only to China in global donkey numbers. The country is both donkey heaven and donkey hell, but though the animal is highly prized, it can also be mistreated.

"In Ethiopia, there's a good saying: 'A farmer without a donkey is a donkey himself,' " says Bojia Endebu, a veterinary surgeon and seasoned donkey doctor. "Because the donkey does lots of work, so they are very valuable for Ethiopian farmers."

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NPR Story
6:31 am
Tue October 9, 2012

Political Contest Plays Out In South African Court

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 11:25 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In South Africa, high stakes political drama is playing out in the courts and in the headlines there. A disgraced political firebrand expelled from the governing African National Congress for insubordination has worked himself back into the spotlight as a champion of striking mine workers. Julius Malema is denouncing the president, a man he once supported, as a fat cat growing rich on the backs of the masses. In turn, the rebel politician is facing money-laundering charges. From Johannesburg, NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton has this profile.

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Africa
5:17 am
Mon September 10, 2012

For Many S. Africans, Strikes Recall Apartheid Era

Originally published on Mon September 10, 2012 6:40 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

In South Africa, striking mineworkers are still locked in a deadly dispute over pay.

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