A SOUTH African performer who sang for Nelson Mandela during his visit to Glasgow is to perform a special tribute in the city.

Marah Louw joined the ­former South African president on stage at George Square in 1993 when he visited to celebrate his release from prison and was honoured with the freedom of the city.

Now, 21 years later, she is back to entertain at Glasgow Celebrates Mandela at the Aye Write! book festival tonight.

Marah - a former judge on South Africa's version of Pop Idol - will be joined at the event in the Mitchell Library by ­Brian Filling, chairman of the Scottish Anti-Apartheid ­Movement and now Honorary Consul for South Africa.

The event is backed by our sister paper, The Herald.

She said: "The year 1993 was a turning point in my life and career as an artist.

"The invitation from Brian Filling and the Anti-Apartheid organisation to come to Glasgow and perform in front of thousands of Glasgow people was a huge honour.

"The crowds were happy and excited at seeing Mandela for the first time and at to be ­bestowing the freedom of the city upon him, and for me to be part of that historic moment is priceless. People standing in the rain, cheering, touching him, touching me, was magical.

"Not a lot of artists from my country have had that opportunity. I kept pinching myself in disbelief that I was on the same stage with this great man. I felt blessed, I still feel blessed. "

Nelson Mandela - South ­Africa's first democratically elected president - died last year at the age of 95.

Marah shared special ­moments with her country's leader, including performing at his freedom concert at London's Wembley Stadium, as well as his Presidential inauguration in 1994.

The singer will share her memories of her time with Mandela, as well as her affection for Glasgow, with the audience at Aye Write!

She said: "I'm filled with mixed emotions of remembrance, sadness and the humble responsibility of keeping the memory and legacy of Tata Nelson Mandela alive.

"I also feel joy. My reason for joy is that I am honoured to take part and be able to come to Glasgow and celebrate the memory of Tata Nelson Madiba Mandela. I just love Glasgow, the warmth and hospitality of the Scottish people is amazing."

For the full programme of events visit www.ayewrite.com

To book phone 0141 353 8000, or visit the Mitchell Library.

matty.sutton@ eveningtimes.co.uk