Virtual celebration on UN Nelson Mandela Day in drive for a Scottish people’s statue

Sadly Andrew Mlangeni, our patron and last surviving Rivonia trialist, died on 22 July 2020 after this video was made. See a tribute from Ronnie Kasrils here.

Mandela Day 2020The Nelson Mandela Scottish Memorial Foundation (NMSMF) is marking United Nations Nelson Mandela International Day on 18 July with an online celebration and is calling on people in Scotland to join the push to fund a statue of Mr Mandela in Glasgow along with a long term education project in Scottish schools.

Covid-19 restrictions mean that the usual event at Glasgow City Chambers is being replaced by an online event at 1pm on Saturday 18 July – on YouTube at and Facebook – featuring contributions by Brian Filling, Foundation chair and Honorary Consul for South Africa, with Foundation patrons Philip Braat, the Lord Provost of Glasgow, and Nomatemba Tambo, the South African High Commissioner.

Other patrons, including Billy Connolly, Sir Alex Ferguson and Andrew Mlangeni, the last surviving Rivonia trialist, will also feature alongside a tribute to veteran anti-apartheid campaigner Denis Goldberg who died earlier this year.

The event will feature music from Scottish singers Suzanne Bonnar and Iona Fyfe and video clips of Nelson Mandela’s visit to Glasgow in 1993.

The Foundation is also grateful to world-renowned saxophonist Tommy Smith and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra for their support for the Foundation as they go online earlier in the day to celebrate Mandela Day with Sam Cooke’s ‘A Change is Gonna Come’ at

Following its launch in 2017 by Sir Alex Ferguson, the Foundation has been steadily raising funds, planning permission for the statue is in place and an education programme for schools is already under way.

Fund-raising has included major events but also individual donations and initiatives like kilt walks and birthday and retirement donations. The push is now on for the £30,000 needed to reach the target to commission the statue.

Brian Filling, NMSMF Chair and Honorary Consul for South Africa in Scotland, said: “While Mr Mandela was in prison, many ordinary people in Scotland organised and acted to make sure the world would know about him and the fight against Apartheid.

“That’s why we want today’s generation to join us in raising the funds to make this statue one that they can see as theirs – a ‘people’s statue’ to remind future generations of the key part Scotland played in taking action for human rights and challenging racism, and on taking action for a better world.”

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 2,500 mayors from 56 different countries eventually signing a declaration to the UN in 1981 demanding his release.

The pure Glasgow gesture of renaming the home of the Glasgow South African Consulate as Nelson Mandela Place in 1986 won worldwide acclaim – and Mr Mandela never forgot it as he told the 15,000 crowd in Glasgow when he visited the city in 1993.

Donations to the campaign can be made online at

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