Black History Month – Mandela’s visit to Glasgow October 1993 video

The video went live on on 9 October at 1pm. If you missed it, it’s still here to view.
To celebrate October’s Black History Month, the Nelson Mandela Scottish Memorial Foundation is launching a short video to mark the anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s historic visit to Glasgow on 9 October 1993 to collect the Freedom of the City of Glasgow awarded to him in 1981 when he was still in prison. He also collected the Freedoms of eight other authorities, Midlothian, Aberdeen, Dundee, Newcastle, Hull, Sheffield, the London Borough of Greenwich and Islwyn.

In his acceptance speech, Mr Mandela famously said: “Whilst we were physically denied our freedom in the country of our birth, a city 6,000 miles away, and as renowned as Glasgow, declared us to be free.” Later he said that, while in prison: “it (the Freedom) made us realise that the world hadn’t forgotten us.”

Brian Filling, NMSMF Chair and Honorary Consul for South Africa in Scotland, said: “Nelson Mandela was a towering figure in Black history and it is important in Black History Month, and on the anniversary of his visit to Glasgow, that we remind people of his and the African National Congress’s struggle, and Scotland’s role in the fight against South Africa’s apartheid system, labelled by the United Nations as a crime against humanity.

“The apartheid system in South Africa was based on white supremacism and cheap black labour making vast profits for the West led and supported by Britain over decades”.

The six minute video will go online at 1pm on Saturday 9 October on the Foundation website at, Facebook and YouTube It includes archive footage of Mr Mandela’s visit and a first-hand reminiscence from Michael Kelly, Lord Provost of Glasgow in 1981 when the Freedom was granted. Music comes from Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra playing “Nelson Mandela’s Welcome to the City of Glasgow” by Blair Douglas.

Scotland was at the centre of the campaign for Mr Mandela’s release from prison. The first ever freedom of a city for Nelson Mandela came from Glasgow. It kick-started 2,264 mayors from 56 different countries eventually signing a declaration to the UN in 1981 demanding his release.

The video is part of the Nelson Mandela Scottish Memorial Foundation’s campaign to build a statue of Mr Mandela in Nelson Mandela Place, Glasgow, along with an ongoing education programme with West Of Scotland Development Education Centre which has already been welcomed by many teachers and pupils.

Brian Filling added: “A permanent memorial to Nelson Mandela will not only remind Scots of their proud history of solidarity with the South African people, but it will also educate future generations to stand up against racism and prejudice wherever it rears its ugly head.”


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