Glasgow plan to erect Nelson Mandela statue
Common Space, by Jack Foster
Fundraiser for Nelson Mandela monument backed by Lord Provost of Glasgow
To mark 100 years since Nelson Mandela’s birth, and 25 years since his visit to the city, plans are afoot to erect a statue of the late South African President in Glasgow.
The relationship between the historic anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa and Scotland’s second city is a significant one, and so it seems appropriate that Glasgow could soon play host to a statue of Mvezo’s most famous son, Nelson Mandela.
The Nelson Mandela Scottish Memorial Foundation launched its campaign on Monday, to raise funds to build a statue of the late President of South Africa, which would mark 100 years since Mandela’s birth in 2018. It will also mark 25 years since his visit to Glasgow in 1993, when he was awarded the Freedom of the City.
“24 years ago today the late, great Nelson Mandela came to Glasgow to receive his award of Freeman of the City of Glasgow and of eight other cities and boroughs across the United Kingdom.” Cllr Eva Bolander, Lord Provost of Glasgow
The fundraiser – which has a target of £250,000 – was officially launched at Glasgow City Chambers on Monday.
Speaking to members of the press, Lord Provost of Glasgow and NMSMF Patron, Cllr Eva Bolander said: “It was 24 years ago today – on the 9th of October 1993 – the late, great Nelson Mandela came to Glasgow to receive his award of Freeman of the City of Glasgow and of eight other cities and boroughs across the United Kingdom.
“I’m proud to say, Glasgow was the first city in the world to award him this honour. It took that decision in 1981 while Mandela was still imprisoned by a racist apartheid regime.”
Adding his endorsement to the project, was Sir Alex Ferguson. The former Manchester United Manager and himself a freeman of the City of Glasgow, said that Nelson Mandela was an example for the world to follow, adding: “For decades the ordinary people of Glasgow have played a terrific role in the anti-apartheid movement and as a freeman of this great city I am proud to play my part in this campaign to honour a very special man.
“And Glasgow has continued to play a prominent and steadfast role in the struggle to see Mandela, and others, released; and to end apartheid. Apartheid ended in 1994 with South Africa’s historic and memorable first free and democratic elections that led to a huge African National Congress victory and Mandela being made the first President of a free and democratic South Africa.”
“Nelson Mandela Place is historically, politically and functionally the ideal location to site a statue of Mandela.” Brian Filling
Also attending the launch of the Memorial Foundation’s campaign was Brian Filling, who organised Nelson Mandela’s visit to Scotland in 1993, and attended his inauguration as President a year later.
Mr Filling paid tribute to the reaction in Glasgow to Mandela’s death in 2016: “Many hundreds of people crammed into Nelson Mandela Place on that cold December night just like they did when the street was re-named in 1986 and when Mandela was released from prison in 1990.
“The idea of creating a permanent and public memorial – a statue in Nelson Mandela Place – grew out of that spontaneous and moving tribute. In our opinion, Nelson Mandela Place is historically, politically and functionally the ideal location to site a statue of Mandela.”
Nelson Mandela was South Africa’s first black head of state and the first to be elected in a democratic election, he served as President of the African National Congress (ANC) party from 1991 to 1997.