Fake deaf signers, broken public address systems, public transport breakdowns and outrageously unnatural straight long-wigs to cover up natural African hair—all these things were in evidence at the Mandela memorial service this week, symbolizing in many ways the mockery which the Third World makes of the First.
The international uproar over the fake “deaf sign language” interpreter at the Mandela remembrance ceremony is the one aspect which has received the most media attention, simply because this comical performance was broadcast live to millions of television viewers for hours on end.
The seriousness of the situation lies however in the fact that this person was employed by the South African government as the official interpreter—and that this is actually the second time he has served a public platform in this role.
In December last year, this same person “signed” a speech by South African president Jacob Zuma at the ruling ANC’s party conference, and he was obviously regarded as having enough skill to do so again at the internationally televised Mandela memorial.
It has now emerged that the signer, Thamsanqa Jantjie, was employed by a "black empowerment" company, named "SA Interpreters" which apparently had links to the ANC hierarchy--and thus got the contracts to "interpret" at major ANC and government meetings.
A South African government spokesman later claimed that the man was “signing in Zulu” (the second most spoken black language in the country), a claim which was instantly dismissed.
The interpreter comedy was not the only organizational disaster to strike the event. Other difficulties included public transportation breakdowns which prevented many people from even getting to the event—leaving thousands stranded in pouring rain—and a faulty audio system that prevented many in the stadium from hearing any of the speeches.
In addition, police did not search the first wave of crowds—thousands strong—who arrived at the stadium.
The most telling sign of the mockery aspect was however, not any of these lapses, but the fact that all of the black women who appeared on the stage were wearing wigs to hide their natural hair.
The worst offender in this regard was Pumla Mandela, the dead ANC leader’s great granddaughter, who appeared on stage (accompanied by the ubiquitous “deaf signer”) with long flowing locks of hair—all as fake as the signer himself. Other Mandela family members were no less outrageous, with one even appearing in a fake blond wig!
It has been discussed before what the psychological reasons are why black women feel compelled to hide their natural hair under wigs, but this was a particularly flagrant display of revealing self-hatred.
* Predictably, liberals have already tried to blame whites for the fake sign interpreter. In an article which appeared in the Washington Post, social media reporter Caitlin Dewey asked if “South Africa’s ‘fake’ sign language interpreter [was] a legacy of apartheid?”—as if this was somehow the reason for the circus.
Ms Dewey has yet to blame apartheid for the long flowing wigs so in evidence at the ceremony.