In spirit at least, Nelson Mandela returned to Glasgow last night. It’s going on 25 years since the great man came in person to the city.

Arriving first from the airport at the city’s Hilton Hotel, few who were there that day back in 1993 will forget how he brought the place to a virtual standstill as staff and guests rose to give him a standing ovation as a bagpiper played him into the building.

Last night aptly enough, The Hilton was again the venue for a Centenary Gala Dinner to mark 100 years since the birth of one of the most iconic political figures of modern times.

Organised by the Nelson Mandela Scottish Memorial Foundation (NMSMF) the event was a fundraiser for a memorial sculpture to be commissioned by public donation that will stand in the part of central Glasgow that now bears the South African leader’s name – Nelson Mandela Place. Last night it was my privilege to act as chairman for a discussion that explored the theme “Memories of Mandela”. For half an hour the audience and myself listened to personal reflections of Mandela and his legacy from South Africa’s Deputy High Commissioner, Golden Neswiswi, renowned singer Marah Louw and NMSMF chairman Brian Filling.

It was Ms Louw who all those years ago in a rain-sodden George Square sang and danced with Mr Mandela, to the delight of the massive crowd who had come from all over Scotland for a glimpse of the leader shortly to become South African president.

It was Mr Filling, too, who back then as an activist, was the nemesis of the South African apartheid regime’s Consular Section in Glasgow, but is today Scotland’s Honorary Consul for South Africa, a role awarded for his tireless work during those bitter years when racism ruled in the country.

While it’s reassuring to know that those bleak and dangerous days of South African apartheid are now behind us, events of the past week were again a stark reminder that racism and those determined to sow division continue to plague the world.

I’m speaking about the myth fuelled for years by white supremacists that surfaced in a tweet by US President Donald Trump last week.

More than two decades after the end of apartheid, one of the inequities of the system’s legacy remains a profound inequality in land ownership. White South Africans comprise less than 10 per cent of the country’s population but own some 72% of its agricultural land.

In an effort to address this issue South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) has sought to change the constitution in order to redistribute land and bridge deep inequalities stemming from those decades of white minority rule.

But for some time now fringe groups in South Africa and the US say these white farmers are targeted and killed at disproportionately high rates.

That there is no evidence to support such claims matters nothing to those seeking to create trouble and disharmony. President Trump, it seems, has been only too willing to buy into such accusations made by those within the US hard right and white-nationalist ranks. As ever, it was on Twitter that Mr Trump unleashed his version of events by making two claims.

The first was that the South African government is seizing land from white farmers and that a “large scale killing of farmers” is under way.

As the Washington Post was quick to point out, while the President’s first claim about land seizures may have some basis, it remains mostly false.

Mr Trump’s second claim, meanwhile, that South African farmers are being killed on a “large scale,” is simply a fiction not supported by data or evidence.

Not surprisingly Mr Trump’s remarks have drawn a rebuke from the South African government, who says that it “totally rejects this narrow perception whch only seeks to divide our nation and reminds us of our colonial past.”

Writing recently in the Financial Times, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa made clear his view that the greatest obstacles to growth in his country remains “the severe inequality between black and white South Africans”.

In few areas is this disparity more devastating that in the ownership and access to land.

This “land question” remains a thorny issue, with critics often sounding off warnings over neighbouring Zimbabwe’s experience back in 2000.

It was in those dark days that then president, Robert Mugabe, sent the national economy into meltdown when he forcibly expropriated land from white Zimbabwean farmers and handed it to his political allies.

The resulting food shortages, hyperinflation and economic strife continue to seriously hamper Zimbabwe to this day.

Africa watchers, however, insist that to conflate the Zimbabawe experience with events and land redistribution in South Africa right now is neither helpful nor strictly accurate. Time and again President Ramaphosa has said any such South African land redistribution plans would be undertaken “in the public interest subject to just and equitable compensation”.

Such reassurances, though, don’t wash with those US white supremacists and others on the extreme right, hell-bent on the manipulation and propagandising of the issue to stir up racial division.

It’s curious that despite enquiries from many media sources, the White House remains vague as to where Mr Trump got his information about “large-scale killing of farmers” in South Africa.

Certainly, Africa Check, the non –profit organisation set up to promote accuracy in public debate and the media in Africa, can find no data to substantiate the US President’s claims and it is not alone.

But Mr Trump continues to peddle such accusations, his persistence perhaps influenced by the likes of white-supremacist websites such as Stormfront, which has a section devoted to South Africa.

Much of Stormfront’s material, too, appears to have originated with a political group called AfriForum that many in South Africa attest is nothing more than a hard-core racist group serving extremist Afrikaner interests.

Years after South Africa threw off the yoke of apartheid both inside and outside the country, there remain those it seems determined to stir up division.

Nelson Mandela would have called them out for doing so. In the same spirit so should we all, even if it includes the US President.