The most important in this week’s headlines out of and concerning Africa, for those who need help catching up.

In this week’s news, an African actress is cast in new Harry Potter play, Benin’s PM walks away from a helicopter crash, and an explosion in Nigeria kills nine.

  1. Noma Dumezweni (center) poses with her Harry Potter co-stars, Paul Thornley (left) and Jamie Parker (right).
    Noma Dumezweni (center) poses with her Harry Potter co-stars, Paul Thornley (left) and Jamie Parker (right) CNN

    African Actress Cast As Hermione Granger

Actress Noma Dumezweni will play Hermione Granger in the upcoming Harry Potter play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Although she moved to the United Kingdom as a child, Dumezweni is a native of Swaziland. She is a critically acclaimed theater actress, who won the prestigious Olivier award in 2006.

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has praised the casting decision, as have actors from the film franchise.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will run next summer in London. Between now and then, however, Dumezweni will make her directorial debut, directing I See You, a play by the South African playwright Mongiwekhaya, at the Royal Court Theater.

2. Benin Prime Minister Survives Helicopter Crash

Prime Minister Lionel Zinsou of Benin was unharmed after the helicopter carrying him crashed at a stadium in Djougou. The cause of the crash is currently unknown, but no one on board was injured.  Zinsou was appointed PM in June, and will run as a candidate in Benin’s 2016 Presidential elections.

3. Gas Plant Blast Kills Nine

Nine people were killed and more injured in a gas plant explosion in Nnewi, Nigeria on Christmas Eve. Three people remain in critical condition. The exact cause of the blast is currently under investigation, but it has been ruled accidental. When workers at the plant noticed gas leaking, the plant manager immediately ordered an evacuation of the plant and the surrounding area.


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