It is hard not to feel an ache of sadness for what might have been in central Africa as one reads this remarkable and moving memoir of a life bravely lived in pursuit of values universally held. How ironic that the author, now in his eighties, should be ending his days in Zimbabwe, a failing state led by a man whose name is today synonymous with tyranny, yet whose original noble cause Peter Mackay vigorously promoted.
Much of the period covered in We Have Tomorrow seemed pivotal at the time. In South Africa, apartheid was tightening its grip; to the north, the rumble of independence was drawing closer, and colonial rule was coming to an untidy, sometimes violent end. Could the Federation of Southern and Northern Rhodesia (today Zimbabwe and Zambia) and Nyasaland (Malawi), created in 1953, offer a non-racist alternative to the horror of what was happening in the south and the uncertainties of majority rule?
The hope proved no more than wishful thinking. Ten years later the Federation broke up, not least because of African opposition to the concept of white minority partnership, seeing it as a European rider on a black horse. On 11 November 1965, the Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith