News / Africa

    Fake Mandela Signer Blames Schizophrenia

    India's President Pranab Mukherjee speaks at the podium as the fake sign language interpreter (R) punches the air beside him during a memorial service for Nelson Mandela, in Johannesburg, Dec. 10, 2013.
    India's President Pranab Mukherjee speaks at the podium as the fake sign language interpreter (R) punches the air beside him during a memorial service for Nelson Mandela, in Johannesburg, Dec. 10, 2013.
    VOA News
    The sign language interpreter criticized by organizations for the deaf as giving "meaningless" signs during the memorial service for Nelson Mandela has blamed a schizophrenic episode for his performance.

    Thamsanqa Jantjie told a Johannesburg newspaper, The Star, that he heard voices and hallucinated during Tuesday's service, which affected his ability to interpret the speeches by leaders such as U.S. President Barack Obama.

    Thamsanqa Jantjie gestures at his home during an interview with AP in Johannesburg, Dec. 12, 2013.Thamsanqa Jantjie gestures at his home during an interview with AP in Johannesburg, Dec. 12, 2013.
    x
    Thamsanqa Jantjie gestures at his home during an interview with AP in Johannesburg, Dec. 12, 2013.
    Thamsanqa Jantjie gestures at his home during an interview with AP in Johannesburg, Dec. 12, 2013.
    He said he was sorry, and that there was nothing he could do.  He also told South Africa's Radio 702 on Thursday that he was happy with his work.

    "Absolutely, what I've been doing, I think that I've been a champion of sign language as I've been saying that.  You know, I've interpreted many big events, not only the event in question now," he said.

    South Africa's Deputy Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu said that the interpreter became overwhelmed and did not use normal signs.

    She said Thursday there was a "clear indication" that the company that hired him has for years provided substandard services.

    She also apologized to the deaf community, and said the issue highlights the challenges that deaf people around the world face every day in trying to communicate.

    The head of the Deaf Federation of South Africa, Bruno Druchen, said the man's gestures were "self-invented signs" not used in South African sign language, and called the incident a "mockery of the language."

    A joint statement from the World Federation of the Deaf and the World Association of Sign Language Interpreters also said the interpreter's actions showed he did not know the language.  They stressed the need for the organizers of public events to ensure that the deaf are able to access information through trained, qualified interpreters.

    You May Like

    S. African Farmer Goes From 'Voice in the Wilderness' to Sought-After Expert

    Margarest Roberts has authored more than 40 books on subjects like organic farming, urban agriculture, herbs and ‘superfoods'

    Millennial Men Prefer Bucks Over Beauty

    U.S. men aged 18 to 34 say the finances of a potential significant other are more important than her looks

    Multimedia Lebanese Clown Troupe Marks Valentine's Day Amid Stink

    Activists resort to unusual approaches to raise public awareness of country’s ongoing trash crisis

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Nicholas Akuamoah-Boateng from: Kumasi-Ghana
    December 13, 2013 2:36 AM
    It is sad ! Why should authourithy treat our physical challenge fellows like that? God have mercy!

    by: Benjamin Likute Bauma from: South Africa
    December 12, 2013 1:15 PM
    Under former President Thambo Mbeki the ANC members blamed him for being too intellectual and not at the level of common people. Under Zuma we are experiencing under-qualify people. Where are we going?
    In Response

    by: Nicholas Akuamoah-Boateng from: Kumasi-Ghana
    December 13, 2013 2:43 AM
    Where are we going indeed! You see, some of our leaders are taking so many things for granted.

    by: Felix from: Lusaka Zamia
    December 12, 2013 12:31 PM
    Common symptoms of Schizophrenia are delusions including paranoia and auditory hallucinations, disorganized thinking reflected in speech, and a lack of emotional intelligence. It is accompanied by significant social or vocational dysfunction. The onset of symptoms typically occurs in young adulthood, with a global lifetime prevalence of about 0.3–0.7%.[2] Diagnosis is based on observed behavior and the patient's reported experiences.

    by: yettah from: usa
    December 12, 2013 12:21 PM
    Can anyone say "paid shill"? The next question becomes this: what high ranking deaf official of what country was targeted to be rattled by this episode?

    by: Abel Ogah from: Oju benue state Nigeria
    December 12, 2013 11:06 AM
    Alas! He got paid for the job. Men needed to survive.Fake men abound, loopholes abound even at that level. This is the end time!

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.