The deadly church and mosque attacks in Nigeria and Kenya, and the deaths of Ghanaian and Ethiopian leaders dominated sub-Saharan Africa headlines in 2012.
But lost in the midst were a series of positive stories. For every conflict, there was a milestone. For every violence, there was reconciliation. For every setback, progress.
Here are the top 5 positive stories out of the continent, as chosen by those who call it home:
The rise of African women
This year saw three African women take on key leadership roles.
Malawi appointed a female president, Joyce Banda, as Liberia re-elected Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Since taking over the task of stabilizing a shaky economy, Banda has earned plaudits for financial reforms, including selling the presidential jet, downsizing the government's car fleet and cutting her own salary.
In another milestone, South Africa's Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was inaugurated as the chief of the African Union.
The former minister took the reins of a male-dominated organization facing funding woes and challenged it to reduce its reliance on aid.
Her election could ease tensions between the body and the International Criminal Court, which also picked an African woman as its top prosecutor.
Critics have accused the court of focusing on African nations and overlooking opportunities to investigate abuses in other countries.
Gambian lawyer Fatou Bensouda took over as the court's top prosecutor, a move welcomed by critics as a major step in healing relations between the two organizations.
The three were the first women to assume their respective positions.
Growing economies, middle class
Africa is home to some of the fastest-growing economies in the world. And the thriving, burgeoning middle class is one indication of that.
The number of middle-class Africans tripled over the past three decades to 313 million, or about 34% of the continent's population, the African Development Bank says in its latest report.
The figure is a marked improvement from previous years.
Middle-class earners are described as people spending between $2 and $20 a day, a threshold criticized by some analysts as too low.
The report says that the overall number of people defined as middle class includes a "floating class" -- those with expenditure levels of $2 to $4 per day, a group considered at risk of sliding back to poverty levels.
Though the report also warns of the growing number of income inequality, it also notes that the middle class is crucial in anchoring African economies.
"It's a call to say 'look, please invest in Africa, there are good returns,' " says Mthuli Ncube, chief economist and vice president of the African Development Bank.
Analysts have warned that the current boom in a middle class is not generating much employment.
New Somali government
Though progress is fragile at best, Somalia got its first central government in about two decades.
Parliament members picked a political newcomer as president, who then named another political novice as prime minister.