Nelson Mandela death: Scottish leaders pay tribute
- 7 December 2013
- From the section Scotland
Public figures in Scotland have been paying tribute to Nelson Mandela, the founder of post-apartheid South Africa.
First Minister Alex Salmond said Mr Mandela had been "an inspiration to countless millions".
Former prime minister Gordon Brown described him as "the greatest leader of our generation".
Glasgow's Lord Provost Sadie Docherty said he had been an icon, while her counterpart in Aberdeen, George Adam, said Mr Mandela had "a global impact".
Mr Salmond said: "With the passing of Nelson Mandela, the world has lost a towering statesman and the outstanding political leader of his generation.
"Mr Mandela's integrity, humanity and compassion were an inspiration to countless millions around the globe, and his influence transcended ideology, race and creed."
He added: "The world is a poorer place for his passing, and our thoughts are with Mr Mandela's family and the people of South Africa."
Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme, Gordon Brown, who considered Mr Mandela as a friend, said: "He showed that the real truth about courage is that you have a strength of belief for which you are prepared to die.
"Because he was committed to racial equality, to freedom, to the dignity of every human being, he brought South Africa from the point at which violence was threatening to blow the country apart to a multi-racial South Africa, and he did it without bitterness, without recrimination, without rancour."
Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont said: "Nelson Mandela is the towering figure of my life since I became politically aware.
"He fought injustice when there seemed to be no chance of victory. But he fought. He endured. And he won.
"And when Nelson Mandela won he struggled as hard for peace as he had to defeat apartheid."
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said: "Nelson Mandela was a giant of our age. He healed his nation and, in doing so, inspired millions.
"He showed the world that reconciliation could be a more powerful force than retribution."
There have also been tributes from Scottish cities which had a strong association with the former South African president.
In Glasgow, hundreds of people gathered for a vigil in Nelson Mandela Place, after the ACTSA Scotland, the successor organisation of the Anti-Apartheid Movement, urged people to come together for a celebration of his life.
Flowers, flags and candles were laid in tribute to Mr Mandela.
He was given the Freedom of Glasgow in absentia in 1981, while he was still in prison in South Africa, and was finally able to collect the award 12 years later.
The city's Lord Provost Sadie Docherty said: "The world has lost a true political and moral icon. Nelson Mandela dedicated his life to bringing freedom, justice and equality to the people of South Africa.
"His beliefs cost him years of his own freedom but his vision for peace and democracy prevailed."
Ms Docherty added: "Glasgow was proud to be the first city in the world to honour him with a Freedom of the City award and he will be sadly missed by a city which had the greatest of respect for him."
Mr Mandela was also granted the freedom of the city of Aberdeen.
Its Lord Provost George Adam, said: "There are not many people who could say they changed the world, but Nelson Mandela was one of them. Faced with the fiercest oppression, he refused to give up fighting for the most basic of human rights.
"Alongside many other cities Aberdeen awarded Mr Mandela our highest honour, the Freedom of the City, a token of our respect and admiration for a man who's campaign for freedom and democracy had a global impact and whose legacy will inspire generations to come."
Provost of Perth and Kinross Council Councillor Elizabeth Grant said the former South African president was a "true giant of history".
She added: "His incredible legacy will be felt for generations to come."
Elsewhere, the Scottish government said the South African national flag was flying at half-mast alongside the Saltire outside its headquarters at St Andrew's House in Edinburgh to mark the passing of Nelson Mandela.
The Scottish Premier Football League said it had contacted clubs to recommend a "minute of applause" before all SPFL fixtures this weekend as a mark of respect for Mr Mandela.
Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland Lorna Hood said: "Nelson Mandela was a towering figure of the 20th Century whose strength, courage and determination are only matched by his grace and ability to forgive."
Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, the Archbishop of Glasgow and president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Scotland, said: "I will remember Nelson Mandela not only for his courage and his ideals.
"Rather I will remember him for the great example he gave of the power of forgiveness. And from his forgiveness great hope grew."
Professor Alan Miller, of the Scottish Human Rights Commission said Mr Mandela "epitomised the human spirit".
Prof Miller said he transcended race, class and nationality.
Strong and committed
There were also tributes from the trades unions.
Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) general secretary Grahame Smith said: "It is impossible to overstate the legacy of Nelson Mandela.
"Quite simply, he changed the world and in doing so gave hope to millions that even in the face of crushing injustice a better future was possible."
Unison Scottish Secretary Mike Kirby said: "Nelson Mandela rightly received many honours and awards in the course of a long life which exemplified courage and struggle against the odds."
EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan, also a former Glasgow City Councillor, said Mr Mandela was an "inspiration to billions of people around the world".
He said: "He was also a strong and committed voice for education, and often spoke of its power to change the world for the better.
"His links with and affection for Scotland were well known and many teachers and lecturers, students and pupils were privileged to hear him speak during his visit to Glasgow in 1993.
"It is impossible to overstate the impact that he had on all who met him or heard him speak, and the legacy that he leaves behind is one of continuing hope and belief in the inherent goodness of humanity."