Ofeibea Quist-Arcton

Zimbabwe's longtime president Robert Mugabe has died. He was 95. Mugabe's death was announced by the office of Zimbabwe's president.

Mugabe came to power at independence from Britain in 1980, after a guerrilla war ended white-minority rule in then-Rhodesia. He was heralded as a model leader — but that image steadily eroded over time as his leadership became more authoritarian. Democracy, the rule of law and the economy suffered.

The start of a new era

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After several hours of clawing through mountains of debris with bare hands, hammers and heavy equipment, approximately 37 people have been rescued from a building that collapsed Wednesday morning in the Nigerian city of Lagos. But many more are trapped under the rubble, including dozens of children.

Several news outlets reported at least eight people died, as of Wednesday night.

Vote-counting has started in Nigeria's much-anticipated election, a week after it was postponed by election officials who blamed logistical challenges.

The country's 73 million voters will choose between dozens of presidential candidates, including incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, who is seeking a second term to take the country to the "next level."

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Nigerians vote for a new president tomorrow. And they're going to have a lot of choices. There are more than 70 candidates who want the top job in Africa's most populous nation. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports.

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Democratic Republic of the Congo is set to hold long-awaited elections on Dec. 23, despite a fire that has destroyed many of the voting machines and materials meant for the capital Kinshasa.

A presidential adviser blamed Thursday's fire on criminals. The head of the election commission said the equipment will be replaced by surplus materials in other parts of the country and the vote will continue on schedule.

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Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has been laid to rest. Tens of thousands of people attended the emotional funeral service of the longtime anti-apartheid activist, the former wife of Nelson Mandela. So many people had to be accommodated that it was held at a stadium near her home in Soweto, South Africa. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports that the sendoff, at times, resembled a political rally more than a funeral.

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Nigeria's president, Muhammadu Buhari, has been meeting more than 100 girls after their dramatic release this week by Boko Haram, a month after they were abducted from their boarding school dormitories in the town of Dapchi in the northeast.

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Zimbabwe's leading opposition politician, Morgan Tsvangirai, who was the arch political rival of ex-President Robert Mugabe, has died in a hospital in South Africa. He was 65 and had colon cancer.

Tsvangirai (pronounced chan-ghee-RYE) came to symbolize courageous resistance to Mugabe's repressive regime — and changed politics in Zimbabwe. As hard as he tried, he never managed to oust Mugabe at the ballot box. But the charismatic mineworker and labor union leader turned politician, and founder in 1999 of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, came close.

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