Here’s what Mandela’s fake interpreter was really saying

You know that faked sign language interpretation at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service? Yeah, it was all signed gibberish. But now we have some idea of what Thamsanqa Jantjie was really saying as he stood on the dais next to world leaders and Mandela’s family. 

An American Sign Language interpreter orated Jantjie’s signs to hilarious effect—a la Bad Lip Reading, or Buffalax—for a Jimmy Kimmel segment:

“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,” was one phrase. 

Another: “Hello, welcome so far. Well, cigarette join, bringing in different to you. A circle, I would like to pray this offering, basically, this is fun, all of this… balls, to prove this is good, I’m sorry.”

During the performance, Jantjie’s facial expressions seem to give away that he’s quite literally grasping for the words. 

It’s worth pointing out that Jantjie was supposed to be signing in South African Sign Language—not ASL. Also, translating gibberish leaves a lot of room for creativity—this isn’t exactly a precise reading. But nonsense is still nonsense, and this is pretty damn funny.

Screengrab via Jimmy Kimmel Live/Youtube

Sarah Weber

Sarah Weber

Sarah Weber is the former editor of Daily Dot’s Parsec section, where she wrote about geek culture. She previously worked as a reporter and editor at community newspapers in the Midwest and was recognized by the Ohio Associated Press for news reporting.