The University of Stirling is seeking support to make a historic archive chronicling a Scottish soldier-turned-activists’ support of independence in Southern Africa digitally accessible for the first time.
The Peter Mackay Archive contains a detailed account of the life of the late Scot who fought for black freedom in Rhodesia and the University is using crowdfunding for the first time to bring the collection to life.
Donated to the University in 2013 by the Mackay family, the archive is currently housed in more than 30 large crates and provides a comprehensive record of the man’s journalism, political activism, travel, photography and charity work.
Experts believe the collection is invaluable to maintaining a record of the struggle for freedom in a number of Southern African countries, including Zimbabwe and Malawi, and want to make it accessible around the world.
Karl Magee, Head Archivist at the University of Stirling, said: “The Peter Mackay Archive is of international importance and provides a comprehensive record of a remarkable life and the role one Scot played in the independence movement across Southern Africa from the 1950s.
“Mackay played a crucial role in the liberation of Zimbabwe but his stories have not yet been fully told. We want to make Mackay’s personal and political papers, and photography, accessible to scholars and students in Africa and open up one of the most important collections of its kind, to the rest of the world.”
The remarkable Scot died in Zimbabwe in 2013 and had close links to Stirling. His family lived locally in Doune and it was his wish that the University of Stirling became custodians of the unique archive.
Stuart Rennie, Fundraising Manager at the University, said: “The funds we raise will allow the University to catalogue all of the materials received and make them available in our archive reading room on campus and online.
“We will use crowdfunding for the first time to give anyone who wants to play a small part in preserving this important collection, the ability to pledge to the campaign and help make its restoration possible.”
Funders who donate £10 will receive exclusive updates and behind the scenes commentary from the University archivist; those who give £25 will receive an exclusive invitation to the exhibition launch; individuals who donate £100 will have their name inscribed on a catalogued box of the archive; while anyone who gives £250 will receive a limited edition framed photograph of their choice from the collection itself.