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Ramsay Mackay


The online South African Rock Encyclopedia covers the history of South African rock music from the 1950s up to the early 2000s. All this information is made freely available to the public.

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Ramsay MacKay

15th August 1945 to 4 December 2018

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Ramsay MacKay

What say you, Ramsay MacKay?
What ever happened to Freedoms Children?
In your time, you had the best band in the land

Jonathan Handley from "Yeoville Canticle" by The Glee Club, 1996

Hello, Jonathan, here I am with a band called 'The Fumes'.

Ramsay MacKay, June 2005


Born in Scotland in 1945, he moved to South Africa in 1953. Ramsay was the tortured genius of South African Rock and the founder of Freedoms Children. He was a singer, songwriter, poet and musician.

Ramsay's songs have been performed by a variety of artists including Freedoms Children, Hawk, Wildebeest, Margaret Singana, Piet Botha, Jack Hammer, Rabbitt, Harambee, The Brian Davidson Band and others.

He died in Scotland in 2018.

In His Own Words

From the back cover of the Silent Water single in 1978.

Came to the Eastern Transvaal from the Highlands of Scotland.
It was 1953.
I was eight.
Saw visions at Graskop.
Went to school at Pilgrims Rest.
My great grandmother on my mother's side was a Spanish Gypsey.

Played rugby.
Was Baas in an Afrikaans gang "Die Rooinek Se Slange".

Moved to Zululand.
Found that education is codswollop
and most teachers codpieces.
There was one non-codpiece named Mad Dog
who was the incarnation of Shakespeare's amazement.
Hello out there Mad Dog
may the winds be warm on your hair.

Heard Bo Diddley.
Saw a photo of The Rolling Stones
Read Dylan Thomas
Wrote bad poetry.

Became a drunkard
Left school.

Remained a drunkard.
Saw visions in Durban.

On south beach when the sun stood on the sea
all the way to India
in the waves the swimmers dangled
small and like clumsy amphibians.

Went crazy through the desire for women
Became a mutant.
Went to hell in the great debauch
of the many angles to everything.
Put a stop to the dop.

All the angles are manifestations
of man's alliance with death.
The thought of self
the self deceiver.

Ja die straat loop dood vir die lekker
lewe in lafland.

It can be said there's more to the
Music Industry than money.
Will it be said.
Ask the lawyer.

Silent Water Single
Silent Water (South Africa) | Discogs

Read an interview with Ramsay MacKay from April 2012 at It's Psychedelic Baby.



Various Artists Compilations (selected)


Rock Legends: 5 x 5 [1968 to 1974] A South African Classic Rock Mix

Five tunes each from five of my favourite Rock Legends from South Africa, from the late '60s to the early '70s.

Brian Currin, 2018