Today 13 December
The South African government formally apologised Friday for any offence caused by the sign language interpreter it hired for Nelson Mandela's memorial, later exposed as a fake. "We sincerely apologise to the deaf community and to all South Africans for any offence that may have been suffered," Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile said in a statement. Enraged sign language experts said that Thamsanqa Jantjie's signing in front of US President Barack Obama and other world leaders gathered at Soweto's Soccer City stadium had amounted to little more than "flapping his arms around". Minister Mashatile said parliament would pass a new law early next year to regulate the profession "so that this kind of incident doesn't happen ever again."
Mqhekezweni (South Africa) (AFP) - As the world's eyes turn to the village of Qunu where Nelson Mandela will be buried on Sunday, another small rural community where the global icon spent many formative years is feeling decidedly left out. "You are welcome in Mqhekezweni, Mandela's 'secret' village," laughed Nugget Sithupo, 75, as he stood next to a rutted dirt track, waiting for a bag of maize to be ground to flour at a portable, roadside mill. Shortly after the death of his father, a nine-year-old Mandela and his mother left Qunu -- his boyhood home -- and travelled to Mqhekezweni, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) inland through the rolling treeless hills that dot the Eastern Cape landscape. "Mqhekezweni was a mission station of the Methodist Church and far more up to date and Westernised than Qunu," Mandela recalled in his autobiography, "Long Walk to Freedom".
PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — Tens of thousands of South African mourners waited in line on Friday to view the body of Nelson Mandela, which was lying in state for the third and final day, with the likelihood that many would be turned away before the casket is taken away later in the day.
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.
Anxious South Africans queued through the night for the chance to say a final farewell Friday to Nelson Mandela before his body is moved to his rural, boyhood home for burial. Friday was the last opportunity to view the open-top casket with the body of South Africa's first black president, lying in state in the grounds of the palatial Union Buildings -- the seat of government in Pretoria.