Ryan Brown


Ryan Lenora Brown is The Christian Science Monitor's Africa correspondent, based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her reporting interests skew long, narrative, and offbeat, with a particular interest in Africa's cities and its migrants. She has reported from nearly two dozen African countries, and in addition to The Monitor has been published in The Washington Post, The New York Times Magazine, Runners World, Newsweek, The Atlantic CityLab, ForeignPolicy.com, The Daily Beast, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Al Jazeera, U.S. News and World Report, and The Guardian, among others. Ryan's first book, A Native of Nowhere: The Life of Nat Nakasa, which chronicles the life and untimely death of a young South African writer, was published by Jacana Media in September 2013. Ryan holds a Masters in African Studies from the University of Oxford and a Bachelors in history from Duke University, and is originally from Denver, Colorado. She lives in Johannesburg with her partner and two excellent dogs.



| Ryan Brown

She bears witness to South Sudan’s turbulence, one headline at a time

WHY WE WROTE THIS The obstacles reporters face in doing their work – the stories behind their stories – can say just as much about a country’s concerns and challenges as the articles they produce. Ryan Lenora…

| Ryan Brown

Canvas cities: Does the world need a new model for refugee camps?

-To find the movie theater in this sprawling camp for people fleeing war, take a right at the main gate, past the knot of police in full riot gear stealing bored glances at their cellphones.…

| Ryan Brown

The fantasy photo booth: in South Sudan, using pictures as ‘vacation’ from war

-A general in camo posing sternly in front of a pink and blue beach sunset. A small boy holding a mariachi guitar in the yard of an angular McMansion. Two teenage girls giggling as they…

| Ryan Brown

In South Sudan’s capital, a bridge — and a nation– on hold

-On its face, the plan was simple. South Sudan’s largest city needed a new bridge, and a Japanese aid agency was going to build one. It was 2012 when the announcement was made, and the…

| Ryan Brown

In Juba’s only post office, ghosts of a young country’s hopes for ‘normal’

The abandoned letters slump in piles on the floor and spill out of over-full post boxes. There are airmailed envelopes addressed in Chinese and American absentee ballots from the 2008 presidential election, a dozen postcards…

| Ryan Brown

The Struggle to Build an American Suburb in Uganda

Ryan Lenora Brown Akright City promised an alternative to the African cities once designed for the colonial elite. But it has become something it was never meant to be. The neat row of homes on…

| Ryan Brown

In Luxury Hotel, a Window on Uganda’s Bid to Forget its Troubled Past

There are few photos that so neatly capture the zeitgeist of a time as the shot of former Ugandan president Idi Amin arriving at Kampala’s Nile Hotel for a diplomatic reception in July of 1975.…

| Ryan Brown

Why Second Place Matters in Uganda’s Stacked Election

Growing up, Grace Kyandiru adored Yoweri Museveni, the decisive former rebel commander whose presidency had brought her country stability. His ascension in 1986 was a chance to end a grinding post-independence cycle of war and…

| Ryan Brown

Ahead of Uganda Vote, Facebook Maverick Flourishes Amid Stifled Media

When Ugandan police arrested a bespectacled IT analyst named Robert Shaka last year, it seemed at last the end of an elaborate multi-year game of cat and mouse between the government and one of its…

| Ryan Brown

In Rwanda, progress and development scrub away an ethnic identity

The minority Twa are often overlooked by the larger Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups. Now, two decades after Rwanda’s genocide, they want a greater share of its new prosperity. Jose Cendon/AFP/Getty Images | Rwandan twa pygmies…

| Ryan Brown

Rwanda: Raised in the shadow of death

Privileged: Cyclist Jeanne d’Arc Girubuntu (19) is a living example that Rwandan ‘born-frees’ have the capability to achieve anything in life. (Cassandra Giraldo for the International Women’s Media Foundation) In a narrow, dark vault beneath…