Professor Denis Goldberg, a close friend of Nelson Mandela, was in the city yesterday to mark the 20th anniversary of Mr Mandela's visit.
Mr Mandela had been given the Freedom of the City in 1981 and the council renamed St George's Place to Nelson Mandela Place in 1986, much to the annoyance of the South African Consulate, which was based there at the time.
Professor Goldberg spent 22 years in jail for his activism with the ANC's military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), for whom he was a weapons manufacturer.
He was at the Riverside Museum yesterday where he viewed the Glasgow-built South African Railways Locomotive.
Professor Goldberg, 80, said: "Glasgow awarding the Freedom of the City to Nelson Mandela and renaming a street after him, along with the Freedom March from Glasgow to London, were all very important to us because it said to the oppressors 'you are intolerant and we won't accept it'.
"And what it said to the oppressed was 'we support you'.
"I always love coming to Glasgow."