Mandela memorial sign language interpreter fake - WTF? - Times LIVE
Wed Apr 26 03:58:54 SAST 2017

Mandela memorial sign language interpreter fake - WTF?

Times LIVE | 2013-12-11 10:40:00.0
US President Barack Obama addresses the crowd during a memorial service for Nelson Mandela at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg. Deaf people watching the Nelson Mandela service noticed that the sign language interpreter didn't appear to know the language.

Deaf people watching the Nelson Mandela service noticed that the sign language interpreter didn't appear to know what he was doing.

According to deaf news blog The Limping Chicken a proper interpreter was present, however the man signing on stage didn't appear to know what he was doing, signing with a bizarre rhythm in a way that didn't tie into what the various speakers were saying.

Francois Deysel, a Cape Town sign language teacher tweeted, "@ BrunoDruchen @ ANC_@KKhoza please get him off this is an embarrassment, no signs make sense, he is moving his arms try to look busy."

"He is a complete and utter fraud," Sign Language Education and Development in Cape Town director Cara Loening told Sapa on Wednesday.

"If he values his life he must come clean because the deaf community throughout the world are outraged."

She said not one of his signs had anything to do with sign language.

"It was like getting somebody off the street and telling them to flap their hands around," said Loening.

"This man made a mockery of the service. How disrespectful for what Madiba stood for."

She said the interpreter had no clue about sign language.

"Deaf people had very, very little access to information from the memorial service."

Loening said sign language was a full and recognised language that would be taught in schools soon.

ANC MP, World Federation of the Deaf Vice President and chairwoman of DeafSA Wilma Newhoudt was similarly annoyed, tweeting, " ‏@ newhoudt 2h @ NkenkeKekana @ GautengANC the so called interpreter on the stage with Cde Cyril is not signing. He's just making up. Get him out of TV sight."

Braam Jordaan, a board member of the World Federation of the Deaf Youth Section told news website SBS that the interpreter was definitely fake.

"I was really upset and humiliated by the mystery interpreter who was supposed to be signing what Barack Obama, the president of United States of America was saying. He made up his own signs," The website quoted him as saying.

According to tweeter @braamjordaan,  “He also ‘interpreted’ at the ANC elective conference in Mangaung last December. It is as if he came back with vengeance!”

Government spokeswoman Phumla Williams said she was unable to respond to the allegations immediately, as she did not know which department procured the service provider. She said she did not know about his qualifications or expertise.

"I can try and find out."

Later when Sapa called back for an update, another person answered Williams's phone, referring all queries to the media desk.

Another government spokeswoman Manusha Pillai said it was the first time they had heard of it.

"We need time to get to the bottom of this."

Mandela died at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg, on Thursday night at the age of 95.

His memorial service in Soweto was attended by dignitaries and heads of state from around the world including US president Barack Obama.

Mandela will be buried in Qunu in the Eastern Cape on Sunday.

-Additional reporting by Sapa


If you have an opinion you would like to share on this article, please send us an e-mail to the Times LIVE iLIVE team. In the mean time, click here to view the Times LIVE iLIVE section.