Mandela Memorial Service Sign Language Interpreter a Fraud?

A fake sign interpreter was three feet from president Obama as he spoke during Nelson Mandela’s memorial at FNB stadium on Tuesday. Some say he was a fraud some say he was just inexperienced.

Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, South Africa’s deputy minister of women, children and people with disabilities, said there were mistakes that had happened at the memorial service but added that Jantjie was not a “fake.” She explained that there were isn’t a standard for sign language in South Africa and that deaf people speak in different dialects.

“I do not think he was just picked up off the street, he was from a school for the deaf,” Bogopane-Zulu added. “Whoever saw him being able to communicate with his deaf peers, with his deaf friends, understood that he can speak sign language. [But] he could not translate. English was a bit too much for him…he became overwhelmed.”
There are other sources that say that he was making everything up.

According to the Deaf Federation of South Africa, “100 percent of the information was omitted.”

His face was often expressionless which is was a huge sign that something was wrong because in sign language the face is very expressive as well. People showed their anger about the situation in many ways but twitter was being used alot.

Wilma Newhoudt-Druchen who was one of the first people on twitter to rant said “He cannot sign. Please get him off.” Newhoudt-Druchen was the first deaf women to be elected to the South African parliamentUnknown

Jantje, the interpreter, explained his actions by telling the public that during the memorial he was experiencing a symptom of schizophrenia

In an interview with the AP, Jantjie said while he was on stage at FNB Stadium he saw visions of angels and that he was vioent “a lot” in his past.

There is a concern as to why someone who has a history of being violent in the past was standing so close to world leaders. Jantjie told NBC News that he is currently receiving treatment for schizophrenia.

The memorial service was organized by the South African government who have used Jantjie before. They claim that they had no idea that the interpreter was a fraud.

Jantjie said he was only paid 85$ a day for interpreting at the memorial.

Janjie later apologized in an interview with Johannesburg’s Star newspaper,”There was nothing I could do. I was alone in a very dangerous situation. I tried to control myself and not show the world what was going on. I am very sorry. It’s the situation I found myself in.”


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