Gospel singer remembers legend

A northern Michigan woman reflects upon the time she sang for the former South African president.

The legacy of Nelson Mandela will live on in the hearts of many people, including one northern Michigan woman who had the chance to meet Mandela when he visited Detroit back in 1990.

More than 50 thousand people filled Tiger Stadium June, 28, 1990, welcoming Nelson Mandela to the Motor City. Brenda Crane of Chase, Michigan was one of them.

Crane was part of a gospel choir asked to sing at the event.

â??I'll never forget singing those words and the way he turned and looked,â?? said Crane.

She did not know Mandela would be physically present at the event.

â??When I got to the rehearsal, I really thought it was going to be a taping of him. When he came and stood on that stageâ?¦ everyone was in awe. It was so enlightening to hear him talk about America,â?? continued Crane.

The group sang the Zulu anthem of the African National Congress.

â??I'm thinking about it and trying to hold back the emotions,â?? confessed Crane. â??It was just so memorable to know that I was able to be part of history. To know that his story was the history I was a part of.â??

Crane still remembers the details of that day, more than two decades later.

â??I imagined the choir standing in Tiger Stadium, still remembering what seat and row I was in. Just watching him come up to the stage, it took me back,â?? said Crane.

The legendary leader will have a lasting impact across the globe.

â??I can't begin to tell you how I feel just knowing that this giant is no longer with us, but his mentorship will last throughout our lifetimes.

Crane said it was difficult to hear of Mandela's death. When he first became sick a few years ago, she sent a card to him, but doesn't know if it ever made it to him.