UPDATE: Deaf People Want to Give Mandela Memorial ‘Fake’ Sign Language Interpreter the Finger

By Shawn Paul Wood Comment

Fake SignWho videobombs a funeral? And no, this isn’t a political joke; I’m talking about the guy standing next to the president throwing up the equivalent of gang signs.

According to the hearing-impaired communities everywhere on the planet, that dude may as well have been picking his nose on international television, because he knew about as much sign language as an 18-month-old baby putting its hands together to say “more.”

Wilma Newhoudt, the first deaf person elected to South Africa’s parliament and a vice president of the World Federation of the Deaf, said:

“Shame on this male so called interpreter on the stage,” she wrote on Twitter during the memorial service. “What is he signing? He knows that the deaf cannot vocally boo him off. Shame on him!”

Unfortunately, there’s more…

Others who protested included Bruno Peter Druchen, national director at the Deaf Federation of South Africa, with a more popular sentiment:

So, here’s a thought: In today’s world of uber security, namely in a place with more world leaders than the United Nations, how did this dude get on stage without the proper credentials to get in the building? Were the deaf community’s needs just disregarded? Did the hearing person checking resumes actually turn out to be blind?

The outrage continues…

Paul Breckell, chief executive of the U.K.-based charity Action on Hearing Loss, said: “We are shocked by the quality of sign language interpretation at Nelson Mandela’s memorial — if it could be called interpretation at all … the limited number of signs, the amount of repetition, lack of facial expressions and huge gaps in translation meant that deaf or hard of hearing people across the world were completely excluded from one of the biggest events in recent history.”

Stunning, right? South African’s government advised they are preparing a statement. That said, the fact that it taking this long for anyone to say anything or find this dude is appalling. And the amount of facepalms inside South African’s government must be … well, deafening.

UPDATE: Guilty party Thamsanqa Jantjie now says that he is schizophrenic and that he was suffering a hallucination during the event. In his own words:

“What happened that day, I see angels come to the stadium … I start realizing that the problem is here. And the problem, I don’t know the attack of this problem, how will it come. Sometimes I get violent on that place. Sometimes I will see things chasing me … If I start panicking I’ll start being a problem. I have to deal with this in a manner so that I mustn’t embarrass my country.”

Too late for that, dude.