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

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid