The story of what Robert Mugabe did to the once-flourishing African state of Zimbabwe: how it happened, why it happened, and its implications for Africa. Robert Mugabe came to power in 1980 after a long civil war in Rhodesia. The white minority government had become an international outcast in refusing to give in to the inevitability of black majority rule. Finally the defiant white prime minister Ian Smith was forced to step down and Mugabe was elected president of a country now called Zimbabwe. Initially hopes were high that he had the intelligence, political savvy and idealistic vision to help repair the damage done by colonialism and the bitter civil war, and to lead his country's economic and social development. But month by month, year by year, Mugabe became increasingly autocratic; his methods increasingly violent.