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
3:49 pm
Sun May 10, 2015

Stuck In Camps, Afraid For Their Lives: Where Should They Go?

Joe Tapera, 35, came to South Africa from Zimbabwe eight years ago and worked as an electrician until last month, when he was threatened by men wielding machetes. He's now living in a camp for displaced foreign workers.
Ofeibea Quist-Arcton NPR

Originally published on Tue May 12, 2015 4:57 pm

The men were chasing him with machetes, clubs and "anything that can hurt."

They were shouting, "Go back to your countries and leave everything. What you possess here is not yours because you got it in South Africa."

Joe Tapera, 35, came to South Africa eight years ago from Zimbabwe. He works as an electrician. But last month, he had to make a mad dash into a nearby bush to escape an angry mob, abandoning his belongings at home.

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Africa
4:29 pm
Fri May 1, 2015

South African Government Denies Xenophobia Played Role In Man's Death

Originally published on Fri May 1, 2015 9:18 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Africa
6:33 pm
Sun April 26, 2015

South Africa's Xenophobic Attacks 'Vile,' Says Zulu King Accused Of Inciting Them

Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, center, arrives at a Zulu gathering at a stadium in Durban, South Africa. Six people have died in anti-immigrant violence in the city in recent weeks, and another death has been reported in Johannesburg; Zwelithini is accused of inciting the attacks with incendiary comments, but says his remarks were taken out of context.
AP

Originally published on Mon April 27, 2015 12:36 am

Goodwill Zwelithini is the influential king of South Africa's Zulu nation. Comments that he made last month — when he reportedly said head lice should be squashed and foreigners should pack their belongings and leave the country — have been blamed for igniting attacks on foreigners, resulting in at least seven deaths. But Zwelithini denies inciting the violence.

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Goats and Soda
5:37 am
Tue April 14, 2015

Hundreds Of Nigerian Girls Still Missing A Year After Kidnapping

Campaigners marched Monday in Nigeria's capital of Abuja during a silent protest to raise awareness about girls and boys abducted by Boko Haram.
Sunday Alamba AP

Originally published on Tue April 14, 2015 4:12 pm

Each day, #BringBackOurGirls campaigners wearing their trademark red gather at Unity Fountain in Nigeria's capital city of Abuja.

"Solidarity forever, solidarity forever, we shall always fight for our girls," they chant. "All we are saying is bring back our girls now and alive!"

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Africa
5:08 pm
Sun April 5, 2015

After Nigeria's Election, A Call For Unity

Originally published on Sun April 5, 2015 9:12 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

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Africa
8:01 am
Sat April 4, 2015

President-Elect Buhari Tells Nigerians Not To Expect 'Miracles'

Originally published on Sat April 4, 2015 10:30 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

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Parallels
8:28 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

Nigeria's New President: From Military Ruler To 'Newborn Democrat'

Supporters of Muhammadu Buhari celebrate ahead of their candidate's victory, in Kano, Nigeria, on Tuesday.
Ben Curtis AP

Originally published on Thu April 2, 2015 5:22 am

In the middle of the night, after a long day waiting for election results on Tuesday, supporters of former military leader Muhammadu Buhari took to the streets of Abuja to celebrate his historic victory in Nigeria's presidential election.

Many were chanting, "Change" and carrying traditional brooms, the symbol of Buhari's party. Jubilant supporters, men and women, were sweeping the ground and the air, saying their leader would sweep out corruption and the extremist group Boko Haram in Nigeria and sweep in order and rule of law.

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Africa
6:47 am
Mon March 30, 2015

Voting In Nigeria Affected By Isolated Violence And Irregularities

Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 12:33 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Africa
5:05 am
Fri March 20, 2015

Nigerian Army Advances Against Boko Haram As Election Looms

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 6:55 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Parallels
5:22 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

Boko Haram Takes A Page From ISIS Propaganda Playbook

The most recent propaganda videos from Boko Haram have higher production values than in the past and other similarities to ISIS-produced videos.
Boko Haram Sendvid

Originally published on Thu March 5, 2015 6:55 pm

In its latest video, Islamist extremists from the Nigerian group Boko Haram display the bodies of two men accused of spying. They have been beheaded.

Gone are Boko Haram's occasional grainy videos, replaced by slick productions apparently inspired by the self-proclaimed Islamic State.

It's a development that may indicate a shift in allegiance by Boko Haram away from al-Qaida.

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