Though I lived in Rhodesia (as it then was) for only seven months, and returned to Zimbabwe (as it had by then become) ten years later for only a couple of weeks, the country has occupied my thoughts since then intermittently but quite often. It raised, at least in my mind, questions of political philosophy which I am still not sure that I can fully answer.
British politicians, leaders of the Zimbabwe Patriotic Front and the UANC at a 1979 conference in London discussed the future of the independent state of Zimbabwe, formerly the British colony of Southern Rhodesia. L-R: Lord Peter Carrington, Ian Gilmore, Joshua Nkomo, and Robert Mugabe. (Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
Editor’s note: The first installment of a three-part series.
The first political leader of any consequence whom I ever met (and I have not met many since) was Ian Smith, Prime Minister of the pariah state of Rhodesia, as it was then still called. I was working as a young doctor in the country, in Bulawayo, and someone said to me at a garden party, ‘Would you like to meet the Prime Minister?’