Tutu welcomes Mandela Day support
Archbishop Desmond Tutu has today sent a video message to the people of Scotland welcoming plans to mark Mandela Day – the annual international day in honour of Nelson Mandela.
In his message, Archbishop Tutu says he is delighted that First Minister Alex Salmond, the Scottish Government and the people of Scotland are working with Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA Scotland) to mark the day which falls on Mandela’s birthday, 18th July.
Archbishop Tutu also welcomed Scotland’s role in tackling climate change and championing climate justice – which he says are initiatives “very much in the spirit of Mandela Day”.
In his message, which First Minister Alex Salmond highlighted during First Minister’s Questions today, Archbishop Tutu says:
“Scotland and South Africa have a strong historic connection, which was especially evident during the anti-apartheid struggle, when, in 1981, Glasgow was the first city in the world to award Nelson Mandela the freedom of the city.
“I am thus delighted that Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond, the Scottish Government and the people of Scotland are marking Mandela Day by working with Action for Southern Africa – the successor organisation of the anti-apartheid movement – and highlighting the work and enduring legacy of Nelson Mandela.
“The overarching objective of Mandela Day is to inspire individuals to take action to help change the world for the better, and in doing so to build a global movement for good.
“I am aware that Scotland has set world leading targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and is working closely with Mary Robinson to champion Climate Justice. These initiatives are very much in the spirit of Mandela Day, and I am delighted that the strong links between the people of South Africa and the people of Scotland endure. The more people who mark and enjoy Mandela Day the better!
“I urge everyone to take responsibility to change the world into a better place, one small step at a time, just as Nelson Mandela did! God Bless You.”
Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for External Affairs, said:
“We welcome Archbishop Tutu’s warm message of support for the First Minister, the Scottish Government and ACTSA Scotland’s plans for Mandela Day, and his call for as many people as possible to mark the day.
“It is also very welcome that he supports Scotland’s work to tackle climate change and notes our work on climate justice with former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson – who of course works with Archbishop Tutu as one of ‘The Elders’, the group of independent global leaders who work together for peace and human rights.
“The Scottish Government will mark Mandela Day on 18th July, and I urge all to remember the great leadership of Nelson Mandela, who is an inspiration to people around the world.”
Brian Filling, Honorary Consul for South Africa in Scotland and Chair of ACTSA Scotland, said:
“The ties between Scotland and South Africa are strong and deep. These ties exist at many levels and take many forms, including with the Scottish Government, local authorities, business, education, churches and trades unions as well as culture and sport.
“Glasgow was the first city in the world to award Nelson Mandela the Freedom of the City in 1981 when he was still incarcerated. Mandela visited Glasgow in 1993 to collect the Freedoms of all the UK cities, including Aberdeen, Dundee and the district of West Lothian, which had given him the honour. In Edinburgh a statue, ‘Woman and Child’, dedicated to South African freedom fighters, was erected in 1986 in the city’s Festival Square.”
Action for Southern Africa
Scottish Government activity on Mandela Day includes:
Derek Mackay, Minister for Local Government and Planning will join ACTSA Scotland and the South African High Commissioner, H. E. Dr. Zola Skweyiya, to take part in the packing of books destined for the Eastern Cape of South Africa.
Fergus Ewing, Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism, will join the South African High Commissioner, H. E. Dr. Zola Skweyiya, for a policy seminar on Scotland’s renewable and energy expertise – covering the Energy Technology Partnership and the Malawi Renewable Energy Acceleration Programme (MREAP).