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with author and researcher Blessing-Miles Tendi
February 10, 2011
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Full interview with Blessing-Miles Tendi - Read
yourself in five words?
I'm a Zimbabwean researcher in African Politics.
the best piece of advice you've ever received?
Always give your best, and believe in yourself.
the most ridiculous thing you've ever done?
It's probably the women I've dated. Professionally I'd
say it's that I've been to places asking questions,
where I shouldn't be asking questions.
is your most treasured possession?
My family, although it doesn't sound right to call my family
do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
have any strange hobbies?
Often when I'm working on something I become rather obsessive
do you dislike most about your appearance?
I'm kind of balding. I used to have very rich dark hair and
I've got two sisters, who envied my hair. And now to see it
go away while I'm still relatively young is just hard.
is your greatest extravagance?
Giving, in terms of emotional or material support. But it does give
you a lot back.
have you got in your fridge?
I love those South African sausages . . . fish, pineapples, because
pineapple is my favourite fruit.
is your greatest fear?
have you got in your pockets right now?
This is the most bizarre thing about me. They're empty; I
never have anything in my pockets. I feel free that way. I like
my pockets empty. You know what they say about a man who comes with
empty pockets? He has no ulterior motives, what you see is what
is your favourite journey?
For me it's always home. My parents are Ndau, but I was born
and raised in Bulawayo.
Do you speak Ndebele?
Ngiyakhulumisi Ndebele, ndino rekete chiNdau, ndino taura chiShona
What do you think about the great Shona Ndebele divide?
There's a book by Brian Raftopoulos and A Mlambo, Becoming
Zimbabwe, it's one of my favourite books right now. One of
it's aims it to take apart historical myths. One such thing
they take apart is this divide between Shona and Ndebele. What is
Shona really? What is Ndebele really? Ndebele is made out of various
disparate groups, so are the Shona, Zezurus, Manyikas, Ndau . .
. and they call them Shona. For me really these are politicised
constructions, both Ndebele and Shona, which in many ways have kept
the country apart, for quite false reasons. But obviously very useful
are your heroes in real life?
Jocelyn Alexander. She was one of my supervisors at University.
She's an Oxford professor and the most intelligent human being
I've ever met. I totally admire and look up to her.
and where were you happiest?
Whenever I'm with my mother.
Are you a mommy's boy?
I guess you could say that. When I'm with my mum I'm
at my happiest. Your mum's your mum; she carried you around
for nine months, its unconditional. I've made stupid mistakes
in my time but she takes me back all the time.
your biggest vice?
. . . Yeah, we're having this interview and I'm having
shots of brandy . . . that's my biggest vice.
were you like at school?
Quiet. A geek. Read a lot. Wanted to be popular, but never was because
the popular in high school were the athletes.
are you doing next?
Working on my next book. It's going to be a history book.
The core thesis is still a little disparate right now so I can't
get into what exactly I want to do. I guess I'm going to figure
it out as I work on it.
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/ Ndebele divide
Date: February 10, 2011
File Type: MP3
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