Thursday, December 10, 2015

On this day 2 years ago… the fake interpreter at Mandela’s memorial service

During Nelson Mandela’s memorial service in Johannesburg on December 10, 2013, a man pretending to interpret for the dignitaries that spoke was declared a fraud by South Africa's deaf federation. U.S. President Barack Obama was among the heads of state attending the service at the 95,000-seat football stadium when Thamsanqa Jantjie took to the stage. The incident raised security concerns and is an embarrassment for the South African government, Bruno Druchen, the National Director of the Deaf Federation of South Africa, posted a statement on its Facebook, which reads in part:
The so called “interpreter” who interpreted at the Official memorial service for late former president Nelson Mandela at FNB stadium has been dubbed the “fake interpreter” and the Deaf community is in outrage. This man is not in fact a recognised, professional South Sign Language Interpreter. He is not known by the Deaf Community in South Africa nor by the South African Sign Language interpreters working in the field... This ‘fake interpreter’ has made a mockery of South African Sign Language and has disgraced the South African Sign Language interpreting profession. The organisers of the memorial service, and indeed any event, should have contacted organisations who coordinate South African Sign Language interpreting services to secure a professional, trained experienced interpreter.
It turned out that Thamsanqa Jantjie was once charged with murder, according to a eNCA TV network that also said he has a history of lying and fraud. Jantjie admitted to being violent and claimed to have been "hallucinated during the memorial service as he was gesturing incoherently." Here's a early SkyNews report (with captions).

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