What the Mandela Interpreter Really Said
It was just 'gibberish,' actual interpreter tells Jimmy Kimmel
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Dec 13, 2013 7:30 AM CST
Updated Dec 13, 2013 7:57 AM CST
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(Newser) – By now, we all know the sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela's memorial service wasn't actually interpreting anything. But what was Thamsanqa Jantjie actually signing? To answer that question, Jimmy Kimmel brought his own sign language interpreter onstage last night on Jimmy Kimmel Live, the LA Times reports. According to Justin Maurer, here are some of the things Jantjie signed:

  • "I support basic salutations here salutations. Inside joining in this week's cigarette inside to prove and on and on. To support, I would please to say from me to you. Talking to you so far."
  • "Hello. Welcome so far. Well cigarette join bringing in different to you. Circle. And I would like to pray this offering. Basically this is fun, all of these balls to prove this is good. I'm sorry."

"It's complete gibberish," Maurer said, concluding that Jantjie doesn't know sign language "at all." Meanwhile, South Africa today formally apologized for the debacle, AFP reports. But the country's junior minister for disabilities yesterday insisted Jantjie is a real interpreter who was probably just tired. (Jantjie himself says he suffers from schizophrenia.) The country's arts and culture minister, however, today said the interpretation profession will be regulated in the future "so that this kind of incident doesn’t happen ever again."

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Dec 15, 2013 7:15 PM CST
I understood him just fine. He said," I've run out of thorazine & have been taking Ginko Baloba for the past week. I hope they institute Obamacare here".
Lou Bernardo
Dec 13, 2013 9:01 PM CST
Sounds like he could be a replacement for Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, not to mention most of Congress.
Ezekiel 25:17
Dec 13, 2013 8:17 PM CST
This actually might wind up helping American Black people. Its because there has been an impression especially in the Affirmative Action circles that Black job candidates from Africa make better workers especially in academia. A college is more likely to hire and African instructor than an African American one. It has to do with established prejudices that people in the US have in regards to race relations. You bring in an African to teach in the school and they do not have the already established luggage that comes with growing up Black in the USA. But this serves to reverse the trend as it shows that someone from Africa is not necessarily a better candidate than a Black man or woman born in the USA and taught in same.