S. Africa Apologizes for Fake Signer, Vows Reforms

Interpreter Thamsanqa Jantjie says he was hallucinating during the memorial service.

Posted: 12/13/2013 07:34 AM EST
Nelson Mandela

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — A South African Cabinet minister is apologizing for the sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela's memorial who outraged deaf people worldwide by making signs they said amounted to gibberish.

In the highest-ranking apology yet from the government, Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile said Friday reforms must be implemented to ensure such an incident won't happen again.

Mashatile is sticking to the government's refusal to say who was responsible for hiring the sign interpreter for Tuesday's memorial.

Interpreter Thamsanqa Jantjie says he has been violent in the past and hallucinated during the memorial service as he was gesturing incoherently just 3 feet away from U.S. President Barack Obama and other leaders.

A deputy minister, Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, first apologized for the incident Thursday.

Mandela died Dec. 5 at age 95.

 

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(Photo: AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

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