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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Africa
4:35 am
Mon December 16, 2013

South Africa Lays Mandela To Rest Near His Childhood Home

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 5:08 am

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
6:16 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 7:39 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.

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Africa
7:38 am
Thu December 12, 2013

South Africans Say Goodbye To Mandela In Pretoria

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 8:00 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
5:17 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Nelson Mandela Lies In State In Pretoria Before Sunday Burial

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 6:26 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.

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The Two-Way
7:22 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 1:13 pm

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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Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013
6:56 am
Wed December 11, 2013

South Africans Line The Streets For Mandela Procession

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 10:10 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
4:29 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

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

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 12:30 pm

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.

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Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013
7:47 am
Tue December 10, 2013

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

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 12:11 pm

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.

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Africa
5:33 pm
Sat December 7, 2013

South Africans Mourn Mandela, Celebrate His Life

Originally published on Sat December 7, 2013 6:33 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
5:17 am
Thu November 28, 2013

Nigerian City Recovers After Militants Are Driven Out

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.

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