Hamish Henderson lecture marks Mandela link


The Edinburgh People’s Festival’s annual Hamish Henderson Memorial Lecture will this year celebrate the Scottish poet, songwriter and intellectual’s lifelong friendship with Nelson Mandela.

Delivered jointly by EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan and Eberhardt Bort, of ‘The Carrying Stream’, the lecture takes place on Wednesday 7th August at 7pm in Word Power Bookshop, West Nicholson Street.  Stuart McHardy will provide a musical accompaniment.

People’s Festival spokesman Colin Fox believes it important all Scots are aware of Henderson’s anti-apartheid activism and his lifelong friendship with the now ailing African National Congress leader.

“At a time when Mandela has again been at the forefront of the worlds attention” Mr Fox said, “the Edinburgh People’s Festival thought it important to highlight the inspiration and sustenance Hamish Henderson provided the young ANC leader when he was imprisoned by the South African Government.

“Hamish dedicated the song ‘Men of Rivonia’ to Mandela in 1963 and sent it to him in prison.  Mandela was so moved by the song that the ANC adopted it as one of their anthems.  When Nelson Mandela was released and eventually came to Glasgow in 1993 to receive the Freedom of the City it was Hamish he insisted on leading the civic reception.

“The two men enjoyed a 40 year friendship that lasted until Hamish’s death in 2002.”

The Hamish Henderson Memorial lecture starts at 7pm on Wed 7th August in Word Power bookshop, West Nicholson St.  Tickets are available from the bookshop or from the Edinburgh People’s Festival website.