Ubuntu moment

Dr Robert Anderson (Letters, 9 December) has stirred up a ­hornet’s nest in trying to claim Nelson Mandela for Christianity. He is right in his assertion that the mission school and Fort Hare University were important parts in the shaping of the young ­Mandela’s life.

But how sad that, by making that exclusive claim, he diminishes what has been so powerfully witnessed in these past days – that the values which Mandela so courageously espoused (courage, generosity, forgiveness and commitment) span the best of all faiths and none.

Nearly 70 years ago the same attempts to claim Gandhi for one faith similarly diminished his memory. Don’t let us make the same mistake again. Those of us who gathered last Friday in Glasgow shared some wonderful ­moments in celebrating ­Mandela’s life and legacy. We were united from many faiths and creeds and none as we celebrated what Archbishop Desmond Tutu refers to ubuntu – the great spirit of ­humanity which the world ­desperately needs.

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Hopefully that will be the enduring legacy of the man whom the world honours this week.

(Rev Dr) Iain Whyte

Former chair

Scottish Churches 
Southern Africa Group

Carlingnose Point

North Queensferry

When all the world leaders are enthusing about how they drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela, let us not forget that, at the time when most of the world leaders, along with popular public opinion, demanded sanctions against South Africa to end apartheid and effect the release of this most remarkable person, the British prime minister of the day, Margaret Thatcher, defined him nothing more than a “terrorist”.

The mind boggles when considering who had peace and ­reconciliation in one’s heart, and who was an intransigent, war-mongering careerist.

William Burns

Pennywell Road