Africa's year in pictures 2019

A selection of the best photos from across and about Africa this year from festivals to revolutions:

Dallifa Suleiman poses whilst having her make-up done before the traditional Islamic wedding in Kenya's Kibera slum - 7 August 2019Image copyright
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A bride from the Nubian ethnic group has her make-up done in August before her wedding in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. Originally from Sudan, Nubians were brought to Kenya more than 100 years ago by the British to serve in its armed forces.

Now a community of about 100,00, they have long complained of marginalisation in Kenya and citizenship is still “not assured”, activists say.

Young Amazigh women pose for a selfie during the annual Engagement Moussem festival near the village of Imilchil in central Morocco's high Atlas Mountains - 21 September 2019Image copyright
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At a wedding festival in central Morocco in September, Amazigh women pose for selfies. The Amazigh are the indigenous people of North Africa, and are pushing for greater recognition of their language and culture.

Zama Msomi, 36, from KwaMashu leads her group of women during the annual Reed Dance at Enyokeni Royal Palace in Nongoma, South Africa - 7 September 2019Image copyright
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The same month, Zulu traditionalists held their annual Reed Dance ceremony at King Goodwill Zwelithini’s Enyokeni Palace to promote old-fashioned family values to combat HIV/Aids and teenage pregnancies.

The festival revolves around women carrying reeds which they then leave in front of the monarch. Zulu mythology has it that if a woman is not a virgin, the reed will break, embarrassing her in public.

Osun festival in south-western Nigeria - August 2019

In south-western Nigeria, tens of thousands of animists, mainly from the Yoruba ethnic group, attended in August what organisers say is a 600-year-old festival to appease Osun, the goddess of fertility.

Man in traditional Oromo costume in Ethiopia - October 2019

In Ethiopia, a man wearing “Daabe”, made from baboon skin, attended a thanksgiving festival of the Oromo ethnic group in the capital, Addis Ababa, in October.

This was the first time in more than a century that the festival had been held in the city, in the latest sign that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government is allowing ethnic groups to express themselves more freely.

Horsemen trot through Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa in early DecemberImage copyright
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Two months later, horsemen dashed through Addis Ababa to greet Mr Abiy after he returned from Norway, where he received the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end the “state of war” with neighbouring Eritrea.

A woman cries over the coffin of her loved one during a memorial service for the Ethiopian passengers and crew who perished in the Ethiopian Airways ET302 crash - March 2019Image copyright
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But it was also the year when Ethiopia suffered its deadliest plane disaster. An Ethiopian Airways Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed on 10 March, killing all 157 people on board, with the pain of families worsened by the fact that none of bodies were recovered.

A calf is stuck in the mud due to drought in Botswana's Lake Ngami - 29 August 2019Image copyright
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Parts of southern and East Africa grappled with natural disasters. Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe declared drought an emergency, as it destroyed crops and claimed the lives of animals.

In beef-producing Botswana, some 40,000 cattle died as rivers and lakes dried up – including Lake Ngami where a calf found itself stuck in the mud in August.

People walk on the flooded street of Buzi, central Mozambique, after the passage of the cyclone Idai - 20 March 2019Image copyright
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Earlier in the year two cyclones – Idai and Kenneth – battered southern Africa, killing at least 900 people and leaving tens of thousands of people homeless. Mozambique was worse-affected, with entire villages wiped out.

A child belonging to the Turkana community stands next to the family house, covered with a blanket, in the early morning hours in an arid dry area in Morungole, Turkana County, Kenya, on October 3, 2019Image copyright
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In Kenya, a young boy stood in front of his home in October in the north-western Turkana region, which was hit by a drought. The government was accused of being too slow in its response to the crisis, amid reports that 10 people had died of hunger and more than 1.1 million people needed food aid.

Young Ethiopian girls take part in a national tree-planting drive in the capital Addis Ababa - 28 July 2019Image copyright
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In July, Ethiopia’s government launched a major reforestation programme to combat climate change – a move welcomed by environmentalists. The government said just more than 3.5 billion trees were planted in three months.

People on a tree in the grounds of the presidential palace in Kinshasa, DR Congo - 24 January 2019Image copyright
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In the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital, Kinshasa, people climbed trees to watch opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi’s presidential inauguration in January, following the first smooth transfer of power in the country’s troubled history.

Mourners sing and dance in the early hours following a vigil for late former Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe at the homestead in Kutama village on 17 September 2019Image copyright
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In September, Zimbabweans mourned their first post-independence leader, Robert Mugabe, who died aged 95.

Having ruled Zimbabwe for 37 years until he was forced resignation in 2017, Mugabe was not just a towering figure – he was a political institution.

A memorial service held in honour of late Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe in Soweto, Johannesburg on 12 September 2019Image copyright
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He was also mourned in neighbouring South Africa, where a wax model of him was unveiled by the radical Economic Freedom Fighters party. Many South Africans credit him for helping to end white-minority rule in their country.

Alaa Salah, a Sudanese woman propelled to internet fame earlier this week after clips went viral of her leading powerful protest chants against President Omar al-Bashir, addresses protesters during a demonstration in front of the military headquarters in the capital Khartoum on 10 April 2019Image copyright
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In Sudan, Alaa Salah became a symbol of the popular uprising against authoritarian ruler Omar al-Bashir. The military eventually overthrew him in April, and its leaders are now in a power-sharing government with the pro-democracy movement.

A mural painting of Alaa Salah painted by a Syrian artists collective called "Kesh Malek" (Checkmate) on the wall of a farmhouse building in the rebel-held Syrian town of Kafranbel in the north-western Idlib province - 12 April 2019Image copyright
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Ms Salah inspired activists around the world. Her mural was even painted in April on a wall in Syria, which descended into conflict in 2011 after peaceful protests to oust Bashar al-Assad’s regime failed.

Algerians protest at a demonstration for the departure of the Algerian regime in Algiers, Algeria - 3 May 2019Image copyright
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In Algeria, tens of thousands of people protested almost every Friday, forcing the resignation of the sickly 82-year-old President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in April. The demonstrations continued after he quit, as the crowds demanded a complete overhaul of the political system.

Tens of thousands Algerian fans welcome the players of Algeria national football team at Houari Boumediene Airport, in Algiers, Algeria - 20 July 2019Image copyright
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Algerians took a break from politics to celebrate the fact that the national football team won the Africa Cup of Nations title in July for the first time in 29 years by beating Senegal with 1-0.

Fans dance during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Champions Tour in Cape Town, South Africa - November 2019Image copyright
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While South Africans celebrated after Siya Kolisa became the first black captain to lift the Rugby World Cup trophy after his team stunned England in November with a 31-12 win in Japan.

Christian devotees re-enact the Way of the Cross, or Jesus Christ's passion, during a Good Friday commemoration in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya - 19 April 2019Image copyright
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The mood was sombre in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, during Easter when Christians re-enacted the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

A young Muslim worshipper runs off during a mass prayer to celebrate Eid al-Fitr at the Stade des Martyrs in Kinshasa, DR Congo - 4 June 2019Image copyright
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Back in Kinshasa, this young boy ran off in June during the Muslim prayer to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, one of Islam’s two major holidays.

Christmas illuminations are seen in the streets of Lagos, Nigeria - 17 December 2019Image copyright
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Meanwhile, Nigeria’s main city Lagos was colourfully decorated for Christmas.

A girl dressed in a Hausa-Fulani culture to celebrate the Lagos state government festival of Christmas carols and nine lessons on 12 December 2019 in Lagos, Nigeria.Image copyright
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And these girls were all dressed up for a Christmas carol service in Lagos earlier in the month.

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