Katherine Rundell

To reach the pangolin is difficult, which feels only reasonable; something so remarkable shouldn’t be gained with ease. She lives in a wildlife conservation project outside Harare, near the airport. The roads in Harare have been deteriorating for years; gaps are patched with house bricks, and during the rains it would be possible to bathe a Great Dane in the potholes. Most of the road signs have been stolen – the rumour was that they were used for coffin handles during the cholera outbreak in 2008, although that’s probably largely apocryphal – and you drive by guesswork and hope. Until recently there were police roadblocks every twenty streets or so; the new regime has put a stop to them, one of the very few visible indications of the change of government. Hot pink and purple bougainvillea still grow at the verge, and threaten to encroach on the traffic lights.

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