Hi, I am very sorry to hear of your bent pin experience. After my disaster I have learned just how easy it is for this to happen. Since I use a Nikon D300 and a D4 interchangeably the potential for this to even happen again is not entirely unlikely. The two cameras require CF card insertion which is backwards from each other. So, one has to be on their toes when putting the card because it can happen so easily. While there is some sort of obstruction in the D4 to prevent accidental incorrect CF card insertion all it takes is to wiggle the card a tiny bit and VOILA in goes the card... and down go the pins. So, having been there and done it... I can say it is most likely that this was a self inflicted injury for the D4. I cannot think of any other way for the pins to end up bent. It is just that simple.
The pain doesn't stop with the discovery of the bent pin, unfortunately. There is a bit of sticker shock when one takes the D4 into the camera doctor. The pin bed is a integral part of the mother board on a D4. I thought that maybe Nikon would have designed a pin bed that could easily be removed and replaced. Not so!! With this particular design it is necessary to replace the mother board... for the magnificent sum of about $850 (Canadian price). So, this is a problem that gets expensive. My experience with the technical repair people with Nikon Canada has been awesome. They have bent over backwards to help me with repairs on my gear. I could not be happier with their performance.
Since you are headed to Africa for a year I would hope that Nikon USA will jump on your problem to solve it in short time. I would be most worried if you had to have the camera shipped to Africa after a delayed repair because of the endemic theft of valuable items when sent in the post to the continent. Since Nikon is sold in every country in the world maybe they would be able to send your camera to a certified outlet in the country you are going to for the year. That is a bit of a stretch but maybe worth looking into if you run in to a problem with getting the camera fixed in a short period of time.
I hope you are able to get this sorted out quickly. Please contact me if you have any further questions regarding the process.