Wednesday, December 11, 2013

fake sign language at Mandela memorial?


The reports are saying that the chap on stage 'signing' at Nelson Mandela's memorial was a fake, that he didn't know sign language, and that his hand gestures were the equivalent of gibberish. 

I don't know sign language, so I can't judge for myself. But if this is the case, why would somebody do it? Was it someone so desperate for a few minutes on camera that they didn't care they were making a mockery of a much loved international figure's memorial service? Or that they were making their nation look foolish in the eyes of the world? 

Perhaps there is some other explanation as to what was going on. I really hope there is. Something along the lines of that he is the member of some obscure and oppressed tribe in SA; that the signing that's being called gobbledygook is in fact in his own native language; and he was simply taking the opportunity to highlight his people's plight on the world stage.

Something like that I think would bring a smile to the face of an old freedom fighter like Nelson Mandela. Somebody high-jacking a state occasion for 15 minutes of fame, I think, would not.  

UPDATE: the latest on the man at the memorial is that is that is a qualified signer, who has done interpretation work at many important state function. He says that he is on medication for schizophrenia but had an episode during the service. Poor man; that puts rather a different light on the whole affair. I hope he's better now & this won't end his career. (see newspaper report here)

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