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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

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!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More