Peter Mackay and the African Liberation Movement

Peter Mackay on the Freedom Road, a route which smuggled political dissidents out of South Africa

Peter Mackay on the Freedom Road, a route which smuggled political dissidents out of South Africa

Durban’s Liberation Heritage Route is part of a larger movement aimed at drawing attention to Africa’s struggle heroes and their stories that so often go untold. History that over the years has been misreported, or intentionally distorted or buried, is finally being made available to the public. This is a process though, that requires money. Funds are needed to collate information, to preserve physical records, and to digitise documents so that they’re easily accessible to people who are interested in learning more.

Independence supporters in Malawi photographed by Peter Mackay, 1960

Independence supporters in Malawi photographed by Peter Mackay, 1960

Stirling University in Scotland is currently running a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for the Peter Mackay Archive. Mackay (31st July 1926-17th April 2013) was a Scottish soldier who left his home at the age of 22 for Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Mackay was relentless in his fight against white rule, becoming actively involved with nationalist leaders such as Yatuta Chisiza, James Chikerema and George Nyandoro. Following the establishment of majority rule in Zimbabwe Mackay turned his attention to the long-neglected Batonga people, setting up schools, clinics and agricultural settlements which would improve the quality of life of thousands of people.

Mackay also worked as a journalist and was a meticulous record keeper. Upon his death his family arranged for 28 crates of records to be transported to Stirling University in Scotland. The documents provide a comprehensive record of Mackay’s journalism and political activism. His journals, notebooks and correspondence offer a detailed account of his life as a writer and activist, with photographs of his travels providing a wonderful visual record of a continent during a period of great change.

Images courtesy archives.wordpress.stir.ac.uk

 

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