Five years, 65,525 words, and 278 pages. The PhD thesis has finally been submitted! To save you wading through all that I will give you the short version of “The impact of land reform in Zimbabwe on the conservation of cheetahs and other large carnivores”: the farm invasions in Zimbabwe’s have been really bad for carnivores and human-wildlife conflict.
Hitting the ‘send’ button on Pete’s veranda with a beer at the ready.
Okay, so its not quite done yet. I have my PhD viva (oral exam) in early November, where two experts grill me for several hours and try to pull the thesis apart. I will probably then be given some corrections to do, then hopefully next summer I can dress up like a proper tool and graduate.
Nevertheless it is still a relief to hand it in so some celebrations were definitely in order! After a few beers it was time to get rid of the knowledge beard. When we arrived back in South Africa I decided that I wouldn’t let myself shave until I submitted my thesis, so i was glad that I could finally stop looking like a mormon/hobo.
The next order of business was taking some hammock time with biltong and more beer. For those of you that don’t know biltong, it’s the reason that meat was invented. My favourite type is the kind that comes as a giant steak you can gnaw on. Delicious and fun!
We then celebrated with a braai where we ceremonially burned the remains of the knowledge beard before cooking our boerewors and sweet potato, and getting to work on our booze stash!