Johannesburg, South Africa – An alleged fake ‘signer’ went up to the stage last Tuesday’s memorial on world anti-apartheid revolutionary, politics icon, philanthropist and leader Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, gesturing nonsense in front of a global audience of millions causing deaf community and real interpreters to outrage across the world.
DeafSA, South Africa’s prominent deaf institution, publicly condemned the presence of the unknown interpreter at the world’s yet largest funeral to Nelson Mandela attended by the country’s leader, President Jacob Zuma and scores of world leaders even US President Barack Obama.
Whereas public figures were speaking to a crowd of a 95,000-seater First National Bank Stadium, popularly called Soccer City, the suited stocky man with an alleged official security pass hanging around his neck yet to be known by the name of Thamsanqa Jantjie, 34 year old, days after the shameful interpreting, produced a sequence of hand gestures that experts said are gibberish and unquestionably meant nothing.
An official South African sign language interpreter named Delphin Hlungwane said, “He was basically gesturing. He didn’t follow any of the grammatical rules and structure of the language. He just invented his signs as he went along,”
As she told Reuters, an international news agency, “There was zero percent accuracy. He couldn’t even get the basics right. He couldn’t even say thank you,”
She also stated that the sham signer failed to communicate to television viewers that the audience at the stadium gave an unreceptive response to Zuma, a scandal plagued leader who faces an election in less than six months.
Hlungwane even remarked, “You’re supposed to indicate with your facial expressions, even if it’s not an exact sign,” she said. “He didn’t indicate that at all. It just passed him by.”
Whilst he gestured, the assumed fake sign language interpreter attracted millions of social media subscribers and bashed him in various social media sites mainly on Twitter. Francois Deysel, a South African Sign Language interpreter posted on Twitter that the signing by the interpreter is “making a mockery of our profession”.
Hlungwane said, “Nobody knows who he is. Even at this hour we still don’t have his name,”
Later on, at the verge of the track down on going, Thamsanqa Jantjie, revealing himself in public, claims he had an attack of schizophrenia, defending his failure at an interview from Johannesburg’s The Star newspaper.
Thamsanqa Jantjie, more from here: www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/12/us-mandela-mimer-idUSBRE9BB06A20131212