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Nelson Mandela in Scotland

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As people all over the world pay their last respects to South Africa's greatest son, it is amazing to discover just how widespread his legacy was. For instance did you know that at a time when Mandela was branded a terrorist by Margaret Thatcher amongst many others, the city of Glasgow acted in defiance, campaigning for his release and awarding him the Freedom of the City in 1981. This act spurred eight other cities, including Edinburgh and Aberdeen to do the same, but it wasn't until 12 years later that Mandela was able to personally receive the award during a visit to Glasgow.

He had this to say:

"Twelve years ago, in 1981, you bestowed upon me the Freedom of your great city of Glasgow. It was a tremendous honour for me personally." 

"It was also of great symbolic significance. For you were granting to me the freedom of your city when the apartheid regime was imprisoning us and indeed all our people in the land of our birth."


"But above all, it was an act of commitment. You, the people of Glasgow, pledged that you would not relax until I was free to receive this honour in person. I am deeply grateful to you and the anti-apartheid movement in Scotland for all your efforts to this end."




A friend and I posing by Nelson Mandela Place in Glasgow city centre
As you can see in this picture, there is also a street named Nelson Mandela Place in the city centre. Even though I was being a tourist and proudly showing it off to my friend, I never knew until now why Mandela's name was featured here. The building formerly known as St George's Place housed the South African consulate (it is now a church), and was renamed Nelson Mandela Place shortly after he was given the Freedom of the City award.

I have a love-hate relationship with Glasgow, but for it's historic attitude towards the late Nelson Mandela I give it one more point on the 'love' side of things.

On another note, although it is very sad that the world has lost an inspirational and humble man, I am kind of happy for Madiba that now he is finally resting in peace.

Thanks for reading xx
(photo and quotation credit- stv.com)

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