The sign language interpreter in the video below is accused of using fake sign language at Nelson Mandela’s Memorial a few weeks ago. Many individuals speculate that this is just another effect of apartheid. According to the Washington Post, deaf advocates including four sign language experts told the Associated Press that the man’s hand movements were “gibberish,” part of neither American nor South African sign language. He appeared to be gesturing at random.
As recent as the 1980’s, South Africa implemented two types of sign language: one for whites and one for blacks. This increased the struggle for black deaf individuals especially in education and the job market.
South Africa, since the 1990’s, has adopted one sign language, SASL, and a set of educational policies that encourage it to be taught in schools. However, the new language is still in the process of being codified, which means there’s no single, standard form. Hard to believe, but in 2008 there were only six professional, accredited SASL interpreters in the entire country.
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