Martin Dent : A Hitch Hikers Guide


Martin Dent



Zulu Dawn
Anyone remember a lecturer in Poly Sci -- I think his name was Martin, but I don't remember his last name. He always lectured with a picture of a Zulu warrior in a frame next to the podium. He also led his dog (which we called 'Fang') around on a piece of rope. All kinds of stories circulated about his eccentricities, including probably apocryphal tales of his role in averting a Zulu war in Africa.

The Names Dent, Martin Dent
The name you're looking for is Martin Dent. He's still about, although retired - has been quite high-profile recently because he was one of the originators of Jubilee 2000 (which I trust you all read about during the G8 summit).

I will leave politics graduates to swap the stories of eccentricity, except to say that it wasn't Zulu's (they're too far south) but one of the tribes in Nigeria.
Chris Wain

Tribal Battles
Yes the Martin was certainly Martin Dent, a delightful man and I am pleased to hear he is still active. It was rumoured in my time that he had single handedly prevented a tribal battle in Nigeria, where I think he had been a colonial civil servant. Quite plausible actually since everyone liked and respected him). Very absent minded as I recall: he was reputed to have driven his car to Newcastle (an aged Renault as I recall, which he seemed to have some difficulty in controlling), caught the bus back and then reported it stolen. Certainly popular with politics students in my day - any of you out there?
Keith Cuninghame (history and politics, 1963-67)

Unreturned Essays!
You mean Martin Dent. A formidable intellect and inspirational teacher. Also potty. 'Bwana we salute you!!'

I never did get my essays back from him. There probably still in that card board box he used to keep them in?!
Martin Berkeley (1986-89)

Me and You and a Dog named Ripple
His name was Dent, Martin Dent, and the dog was called Ripple. He had been a District Officer in Nigeria when it was still part of the Empire and did, indeed, avert a nasty riot in the North of the country, but was blackballed for his efforts because he actually said he agreed with the Africans. He used to "date" (as the Americans say) a lady called Marjorie from the careers advisory service (a delicately demure creature about as different from Martin as anyone could be) whom he used to forget at parties in London.

He also forgot Ripple once or twice and, sadly, the final time poor old Ripple never was found.

Martin was famous with the telephone people in rural Shropshire where he had a home: he had to call them on many occasions to replace his phone because a cow had been sitting on it ... or so went the story.

Jubilee 2000
This sounds very much like Martin Dent, who has told me all about the war he averted in Malawi. He started up the Jubilee 2000 campaign in Keele a few years ago, which sounded like a brilliant policy for cancelling the unrepayable debt of third world countries, and I thought 'it will never catch on'. Now it is an international campaign, discussed at the G8 meeting in Birmingham in May, and looking like a major breakthrough in the history of the world ... anyone out there who hasn't signed the petition (known as 'the biggest petition in the world' and wants to???
Debbie Lovell (English/ Psychology 1988 - 1991; PG 1991 - 1994) (Daughter of Howard Lovell Maths/ economics 1959 - 1962 ish - anyone out there got any stories about him???)

District Officer Dent
If memory serves Martin was a District Officer in Malawi, something he mentioned while I was helping him start up the Jubilee 2000 campaign. I believe his interest in Nigeria stems from involvement with the initial set up of their first constitution, though I could be wrong.

Glad to hear that he's still about, does anyone know if he still has to ask the Politics Secretary where he's parked his car? There are too many stories to tell about Martin and his forgetfulness, but I think he just doesn't worry about (what are for him) mundane matters, he care about the big issues and really does want to help, for instance, when Jubilee 2000 was starting he was also busy writing to various ambassadors and ministers about Bosnia. Well just my 2p worth, maybe I'm getting sentimental...
Bobby Kent (86-91)


KeeleAlumni Home Page