In 1990, on the eve of the tenth anniversary of Zimbabwe's independence, when the country's outlook was still quite rosy, I drove through Harare's leafy northern suburbs to interview Ian Smith, the leader of the white minority rebels who declared unilateral independence in the 1960s rather than accept black majority rule.
After a few minutes listening to a self-justifying diatribe about the evils of black government by "communist terrorists" I switched off my tape recorder and politely made my excuses, shaking my white liberal head in amazement at his antedeluvian views.
Today I find it extremely painful to read the daily news from Zimbabwe and realise that perhaps "good old Smithy" had a point. Mugabe has managed in those 17 years since my interview to make the case for something utterly inconceivable - that Ian Smith was right all along in saying that black rule would lead to chaos.
John Morrison on the Zimbabwe disasters and the amazing fact that Mugabe is still an African hero. Ex-Zambian president Kaunda thinks it's all our fault.
"Leaders of the surrounding African nations today greeted Robert Mugabe with cheers, applause and laughter as he arrived at a regional summit"