Scotland celebrating UN Nelson Mandela International Day

Arthur Johnstone, Stephen Wright, Suzanne Bonnar, Iona Fyfe, Jani Lang and the amazing Rab Noakes

Glasgow again did Scotland proud tonight with a civic reception to celebrate UN Nelson Mandela International Day and to boost fundraising for the Nelson Mandela Scottish Memorial Foundation (NMSMF) campaign for a statue in Nelson Mandela Place and an ongoing education programme.

The original banner (below) for the granting of the Freedom of Glasgow in 1981 was on show at the City Chambers and the artist, Jim Cathcart, made the journey to explain the background.

BannerYou can now buy exclusive notelets or greetings cards of this iconic banner on ebay here with funds going to the NMSMF campaign.

Moving and inspiring music came from the Musicians’ Union in the shape of long time rights campaigner and musician Rab Noakes, Stephen Wright on guitar, Jani Lang on fiddle and the fantastic voice of Iona Fyfe. Rab’s moving presentation of international songs of struggle over the years mixed with celebration as Iona tugged at the hearts of those who were in George Square when Mandela spoke in 1993, with a joyful rendition of Ian Davison’s ‘Mandela danced in the square’.

The band finished with Iona inviting the legendary Arthur Johnstone up to join her in Scotland’s real national anthem, Hamish Henderson’s ‘The Freedom Come All Ye”

The evening ended with the audience on its feet for Suzanne Bonnar’s powerful and emotional a cappella rendition of Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika. Not a dry eye in the house.

Brian Filling, Honorary Consul and Chair of the Nelson Mandela Scottish Memorial Foundation, thanked the Lord Provost and Glasgow City Council, the Scottish Government, the STUC and the Musicians Union for their support.

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