Black gospel music traveled across the globe and brought its healing force as Grammy Award-winning gospel star Kirk Franklin performed at the memorial service for freedom fighter and anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela today, Dec. 10.
The memorial was held in the FNB football stadium in Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa before an estimated crowd of 90, 000 who braved the rain to pay final respects to the man who had done so much for his country, including a 27-year stay in prison as he fought to end white rule in his homeland. The memorial was streamed live and covered by national television networks around the world.
When Kirk Franklin took to the stage he sung his hit, "My Life Is In Your Hands," backed by Joyous Celebration. Franklin ignited the stadium and brought the crowd to its feet with the stirring gospel song.
He left the piano and began to walk around in front of the stage, trailed by someone carrying an umbrella trying to keep up with the energetic Franklin who transformed the stadium into a church-like atmosphere reminiscent of the traditional African-American homegoing experience. His performance evoked thunderous applause.
On Twitter Franklin tweeted about the performance, "Very humbled today...#Mandela"
After the performance by Kirk Franklin, U.S. President Barack Obama took the stage and the crowd erupted with cheers and applause. According to CBS News, Mr. Obama went on to praise Mandela for entrenching the principles of democracy in the country which had for so long been ruled by an elite white minority, saying his "commitment to democracy and the rule of law, (was) ratified not only by his election, but by his willingness to step down form power after only one term."