Mandela sign language interpreter sparks parody Twitter account

12 Dec 2013

The header on the @MemorialSigner Twitter account

A new parody account has sprung up on Twitter, this time as being from the supposedly fake sign language interpreter who worked at former South African president Nelson Mandela’s memorial on Tuesday.

Readers of sign language were outraged to find the interpreter, identified as Thamsanqa Jantjie (34), reportedly gesticulating gibberish. South Africa’s leading deaf association even denounced him as a fake, saying he was inventing signs, Reuters reported.

Now, the parody Twitter account @MemorialSigner tweets messages that are nonsense. Already, it has attracted nearly 3,000 followers.

The profile box at the top of the account’s Twitter page even reads, “Fish rabbit car park. Telephone telephone. Sellotape. Pine tree tissues” and lists the location as “Main Stage, FNB Stadium”.

Mandela Signer

Tens of thousands of South Africans and political leaders from around the world attended Mandela’s memorial at FNB stadium in Johannesburg. A funeral for Mandela, who died on 5 December at the age of 95, will take place on Sunday.

Jantjie has told Johannesburg’s Star newspaper he had suffered a schizophrenic episode during the memorial.

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic