Thamsanqa Jantjie, the man who made fake sign language at Nelson Mandela's memorial service next to world leaders (including President Obama), told The Associated Press he saw angels coming into the stadium and was trying not to panic because there were "armed policemen around me."
Condemnation from sign language experts has been universal. "It was like getting somebody off the street and telling them to flap their hands around," said Cara Loening, director of Cape Town-based Sign Language Education and Development. Apparently, that's close to what happened. Jantjie's references were faked.
Imagine this guy, standing up there all day long, making random gestures with his hands, and keeping a mock serious expression on his face. What did he think was going to happen? Did he think nobody would figure it out? Did he think he'd be paid no matter what and thus not care?
I don't know if I should laugh at the absurdity or admire the diabolical genius. I suppose I should wait and see if the guy ends up doing any time in jail.
Much of the time he was the closest person to the world leaders at the podium. I would assume he was checked for lethal weapons before being allowed up there.
Apparently, he's been doing this for years, which raises the issue of whether signing is something that's so rare in SA that nobody clued the government in?