This exhibition takes its name from the long, sandy road linking Bechuanaland (now Botswana) to Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), crossing South West Africa (now Namibia) and Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) along the way. It was the road along which refugees travelled to escape from the South African oppression in the 1960s, often helped on their desperate journey by humanitarian organisations or mysterious foreign drivers.
Exclusively showing material from the Peter Mackay Archive for the first time, this exhibition tells the story of Freedom Road – in the larger context of the African struggle for independence – through the words and photographs of one of those unnamed European “heroes”.
Peter Mackay (1926-2013) was a key figure in the independence movements of Southern Africa. Born into a Scottish family with strong links to Stirling, Mackay served in the Scots Guards before emigrating to Rhodesia in 1948 where he devoted himself to the cause of African liberation. He then began to be involved in the African Independence movement in 1952 and was a great chronicler of this period of history until his death in 2013.
The Archive was donated to the University of Stirling in 2013 and the records within are a fascinating record of Mackay’s involvement in the independence movements of a number of Southern African countries, including Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and Nyasaland (Malawi). The exhibition showcases photographs and papers from the archive illustrating these with Peter’s own words from his autobiography We Have Tomorrow: Stirrings in Africa 1959 – 1967.
Freedom Road has been curated by 3rd year students of the Interpretation and Exhibition Design Module run by the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and taught by the University’s curators and archivists.
Developed in two sections, the exhibition continues in the Freedom Press space in the Archive glass cabinet, where a closer look at the man and his activism is explored.
This exhibition is free of charge and is open to staff, students and members of the community.