News / Africa

Fake 'Signer' at Mandela Memorial Outrages Deaf

India's President Pranab Mukherjee speaks at the podium as the unidentified sign language nterpreter (R) punches the air beside him during a memorial service for late South African President Nelson Mandela at the FNB soccer stadium in Johannesburg, Dec. 10, 2013.
India's President Pranab Mukherjee speaks at the podium as the unidentified sign language nterpreter (R) punches the air beside him during a memorial service for late South African President Nelson Mandela at the FNB soccer stadium in Johannesburg, Dec. 10, 2013.
Reuters
A fake sign language interpreter took to the stage during the memorial for anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela, gesticulating gibberish before a global audience of millions and outraging deaf people across the world.
 
DeafSA, South Africa's leading deaf association, condemned the presence of the unknown man at the memorial, which was attended by President Jacob Zuma and scores of world leaders including U.S. President Barack Obama.
 
While dignitaries were addressing the crowd in the 95,000-seat Soccer City stadium, the young, suited man with an official security pass around his neck produced a series of hand signals that experts said meant absolutely nothing.
 
Besides the bizarre twist to an event that also saw Zuma booed and jeered, his presence on the stage within yards of Obama and Brazil's Dilma Rousseff raises awkward security questions.
 
“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,” said Delphin Hlungwane, an official South African sign language interpreter at DeafSA.
 
“There was zero percent accuracy. He couldn't even get the basics right. He couldn't even say thank you,” she told Reuters.
 
Hlungwane said the 'interpreter' also failed to impart to television viewers - as he should have done - that the crowd gave a hostile reception to Zuma, a scandal-plagued leader who faces an election in less than six months.
 
“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.”
 
The hunt is on for the man, whose identity is a mystery to South Africa's deaf community and the government, which was officially in charge of Tuesday's ceremony.
 
The ruling African National Congress (ANC) also professed no knowledge, even thokson Mthembu said.
 
Zuma spokesman Mac Maharaj said he was checking the reports to try to determine the man's identity.

You May Like

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

The studies point to the possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Eaglekiss
December 12, 2013 2:18 AM

He must have felt rather excited, thinking while making the signs: "Umbala, Umbala, I am the only guy who understand this "language", this is my own concocted language that all the so-called "elites" sitting down there and the big guy for whom I am providing the "interpretation" here will never understand what is what. This is indeed a traditional African magic, a charlatan language that can fool even the Heaven's King let alone earthly kings like the Bushes, the Bashes, the Fords or the Carters...How wonderful I am feeling now! as this proves that all these guys are not only deaf but also blind!"

.

by: Mbannana from: South Africa
December 11, 2013 12:47 PM
LOL... let me tell you something... the whole country of South Africa is a fake and a deceit. We have grinding poverty, huge unemployment, Whites are in virtual segregation... Whites live in gated guarded communities... crime is through the roof... AIDS is a national epidemic... and that is the true legacy of Mandala...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

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