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 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 (ACTSA Scotland), the successor organisation to 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.