The transformation of Rhodesia into Zimbabwe was probably the first world event which I followed intimately - knowing all the players, their armies and philosophies.
And I wanted to be there to cover it as a news story.
But this was not easy for boy of 13, based in West Wales.
Instead I had to wait another two years before I earned my first professional fee from journalism, and indeed it was on an African story.
I had interviewed the (then) Archbishop of Cape Town, Desmond Tutu.
He was visiting the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show, in Builth Wells. Of course he was. So was I...
...I received two pounds for my article, in my (very) local newspaper!
It turned out that I would report on Zimbabwe from time to time,
as Robert Mugabe tightened his grip on power...
And later, when as a result of his machinations the economy stagnated and all but collapsed, I covered the effects again.
We talked to businesspeople about how their companies were faltering - they would smuggle US dollars into the country, as the preferred currency - packed into the fuel tanks of trucks coming over the border. We disguised the voices of those we spoke to, and kept their identities secret.
We interviewed ordinary folks on how to cope with an inflation rate running into thousands of percent - they would barter, or do without. I bought a 10 Million Dollar Zimbabwean Dollar to illustrate the point - describing myself as a newly-minted multi-millionaire in the studio.
The note cost me a pound.
Around that time, I bumped into a tall, thin, craggy but still good-looking man walking out of a lift in BBC Television Centre. It was the last white Prime Minister of Rhodesia - Ian Smith. He did have an air of “I told you so” about him, but a stronger smell of having been “left behind”.
He had been on the wrong side of morality, and history - and had been a man without a plan.
He had no lessons for now, not really.
Much is being made of the jubilation and hopes of Zimbabweans today. But the story will go on, twisting and turning. This might just be an internal party putsch, with senior members of ZANU-PF simply running out of patience, and wanting their turn.
Democracy has almost worked in the past…
Mugabe’s attempt to win near-absolute power in a referendum in the year 2000 was rejected by the people. Later that year, he almost lost his parliamentary elections. In 2008, he actually lost the presidential election in the first round - but his bully boys ensured his rival pulled out, before the second round.
In the end, as this story continues, it won’t be the electorate which decides who takes power.
It’ll be those in power who will decide whether they want to relinquish it.