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African press review 10 October 2015

There is news at last that the Chibok girls are alive, cheering hearts in Nigeria. The ANC party has a grim confession about graft and factionalism eroding its popularity; And a South African couple with one HIV-positive partner goes public about their plans to have a baby.

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We start with breaking news from Nigeria that the Chibok girls kidnapped last year by Boko Haram are alive and holed up in the Lake Chad area.

Vanguard is running with the story after learning from a "reliable source" that one of the girls escaped from the hands of her abductors as they were being relocated from a Sambisa Forest camp and ran into the hands of Fulani herdsmen who helped her get to a base of the multi-national joint taskforce.

The paper reports that the girl had given an emotional report of her ordeal to investigators at the Baga base, speaking at length about her forced marriage to one of the terrorists who impregnated her, and her escape.

According to Vanguard, its source said the girl, whose name was withheld, had just given birth to a baby but didn’t say what happened to her baby. She is quoted as saying that she escaped from a camp where 60 of the girls also forcefully married and pregnant were held and abused.

Vanguard’s source also said that the escapee further disclosed to security agencies that Boko Haram terrorists have been seriously weakened and are now moving from place to place aimlessly like lost sheep.

In South Africa there is robust coverage of the 4th National General Council of the ruling ANC party which opened in Midrand on Friday. Mail and Guardian leads with the damning report delivered by the ANC’s secretary general, Gwede Muntashe, in which he bemourned the failure of the party’s members to walk the talk against corruption   one of the top five priorities set by the party during their last elective conference.

Muntashe spoke, as several top ANC members have either been charged or have pending cases of corruption against them, including the drawn-out Nkandla scandal about the use of public funds to renovate President Jacob Zuma’s residence in his hometown.

Mail and Guardian also read the lips of the top ANC official when he decried the decline of the party’s popularity six months away from the 2016 local government elections. According to the Johannesburg publication, it has lost almost a quarter of its membership merely three years after the ANC celebrated reaching more than a million members at its centenary celebrations in 2012.

Interestingly as it points out, President Zuma addressed the problem to the gathering of ANC dignitaries, instead placing the blame firmly on what he called a "new form of gatekeeping" and factionalism. Mail and Guardian also expresses its utter surprise that it was Zuma who spoke out against this, when he himself was elected through purported kingmakers in 2007 and again in 2012.

Times Live was also taken aback by Zuma’s denunciation of so-called negative tendencies such as ill-discipline, hooliganism and violence taking place in the party which he has a second mandate to lead.

And South Africa’s Daily News sat down for a frank chat with an amazing couple that has decided to start a family despite the HIV status of the man. Oziel Mdletshe, 47, was diagnosed HIV positive 19 years ago. In 2008, he married Nompumelelo, 37, who was and still is HIV negative.

The couple has decided to use their experience as a discordant couple to raise awareness and stop the “transmission of HIV in the name of love”.

Oziel told Daily News that HIV does not mean you are at death’s door and is not "something which can only be discussed behind closed doors”.

"Our frustrations right now are not HIV", he said but the fact that their efforts and prayers to have a baby have not yielded fruit.

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