2011 was (quite literally) a riotous year for certain parts of Africa. Triggered by the last desperate act of a frustrated unemployed Tunisian graduate who set himself ablaze after suffering abuse from the Tunisian police, the so-called Arab Spring has left in its wake several head of state casualties, including Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Ben Ali of Tunisia himself, and Muammar Gaddafi of Libya. Though technically not African, Abdul Saleh of Yemen is another victim of the Arab arising.
But though North Africa made the major headlines in 2011, some other parts of Africa spent some time in the sun news-wise. Ivory Coast was a tragic case of a power struggle that resulted in the massive dimunition of the economic output of one of Africa's most progressive states. The resulting chaos resulted in refugee flow-over in to neighboring states such as Ghana. Many refugees have still not returned as evidenced by the large of Ivorian-licensed number plates seen all over Accra till date.
2011 saw South Sudan break away from Sudan proper, becoming the world's newest state. Despite the excitement (on the part of Southerners) from the secession, real challenges are facing the new country, making it the more important to enact prudence policies to channel the country's oil resources into the setting up of missing vital infrastructure.
The Horn of Africa suffered a serious drought, which was touted as the region's worst in six decades. Moving images prompted an uptick in humanitarian response after a lukewarm initial response.
Elsewhere, elections results were challenged in certain parts of Africa, including DR Congo and Uganda. In the case of Uganda, government responded with force as it sought to quash anti-government protests.
All in all, 2011 was a year of uprising and mass movements. In the next blog, this correspondent will attempt to predict some key events in 2011--Cassandra-style--let's hope someone's listening.