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with Ian Scoones*, researcher on Zimbabwe land issues
January 17, 2013
yourself in five words?
Researcher, parent, politically-committed, relaxed, scruffy.
the best piece of advice you've ever received?
If you are a researcher, know somewhere really well, so you know
how little you know about other places.
the most ridiculous thing you've ever done?
Dressing up as a tortoise in a large papier mache shell and crawling
round a shopping centre to raise money for some conservation work
I was doing in Madagascar.
is your most treasured possession?
iPhone - and the music on it.
do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
When injustices are carried out, and can be prevented.
have any strange hobbies?
I have an allotment and farm vegetables. Not really strange, but
my farmer friends in Masvingo find it highly amusing.
do you dislike most about your appearance?
I cannot be smart. Ever.
is your greatest extravagance?
have you got in your fridge?
Lots and lots of half used jars of pickle, jam etc. And cheese.
is your greatest fear?
Death, loss of loved ones.
have you got in your pockets right now?
A large bunch of keys, most of which I have no idea what lock they
fit. And an iPhone (of course).
is your favourite journey?
The stretch of road to Ngundu and beyond where the huge granite
domes dominate the landscape.
are your heroes in real life?
Mr Zephaniah Phiri of Msipane, Runde communal area in Zvishavane
district, aka ‘the water harvester', and founder of
Zvishavane Water Projects. An extraordinary, brave, intelligent
and visionary person who I have learned so much from over nearly
and where were you happiest?
When my two children were born - Jake in 1997 and Kate in 2002.
And also when I was doing my PhD in Mazvihwa communal area in the
late 80s. So much new to learn, so much optimism about future possibilities.
your biggest vice?
were you like at school?
A bit nerdy (‘the scientist'), but also part of an activist
group of students - saving the whale, saying no to nuclear
energy and protesting against apartheid and the nuclear arms race.
are you doing next?
Going to a meeting. Again.
is a Professorial Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies,
University of Sussex, UK (www.ianscoones.net),
and researcher on Zimbabwe land, agriculture and rural development
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