Gillian Schutte
Gillian Schutte

What the fake signing man really told us

Gibberish or not, what the fake signing man so pithily exposed about our society, is that white privilege and commonsense racism continue to permeate and dominate the South African public conversation. This was evident in the many educated and colloquial responses to this debacle which, rather than focusing on the grave disservice done to the deaf, were instead, intent on expressing their ingrained belief in “how useless all blacks are at, well everything’. In place of critiquing the obvious issue of ableism and exposing how this phenomenon ignores the needs of the mentally challenged and the physically disabled, the main thrust of the public discourse that developed around this fake interpreter, was how this fiasco was proof of black ineptitude.

And so the usual racialised prejudices of the mainstream liberal stratum of our society were outed by said fake signer — even if by default. It was in the loud and incessant response to him, and all he supposedly symbolised, that the epistemic violence of the mainstream white narrative was laid bare.

Elsewhere in the world people made fun of this bizarre incident. It was ludicrous in so many ways and thus quickly became brilliant comedic material. It was not funny on the level that the signer was possibly schizophrenic or that the deaf were short-changed in their following of the auspicious event of Mandela’s memorial — it was just that there was an absurdity to it that lent itself to some hilarious interpretations.

But in South Africa the tedious social cacophony in response to this incident was the usual monotonous sanctimonious whinging about how “the blacks” couldn’t get anything right. This mishap became the signifier for white misgivings about the entire indigenous population. Because of one man, who may have been in the throes of a schizophrenic episode on the stage, the entire government, all civil servants and probably most businessmen too, were labelled totally useless in the racist narrative that developed rapidly around this event.

It seems that we are doomed to remain stuck in this tasteless social bias — in this unresolved and quietly violent binary purgatory, where all the ills of this country will be blamed on all blacks by whites. This negativity towards, and lack of faith in, blackness, is a social miasma. It is what white people were taught from the moment they moved into the realm of language and it is what the system of apartheid reinforced. A government that has forged expedient partnerships with the white-driven corporate world has further ensured that this discourse remains unchallenged and mainstream white South Africa continues to spit out the same anti-black rhetoric, peppered with negative and offensive stereotypes and projections, though we are 20 years into our democracy. This has become the normalised narrative that white people tell themselves over and over and it is the natural default narrative when anything goes wrong in the country.

And so the fake signer becomes the catchall signifier for this white belief in collective black ineptness.

Sarah Britten’s article embodies this prejudicial narrative. The many supporters and purveyors of this particular whiteness narrative received her column with glee. They applauded her brilliance — especially her “brilliantly” blatant insult of the entire echelon of civil servants in South Africa when she states: “In South Africa, the signing man told the world, you don’t actually have to know what you are doing in order to get a job. You don’t have to have any ability whatsoever, as long as it looks, to most, as though you can go through the motions — whether you are a teacher, a police officer, a bureaucrat, a government official or (as some have suggested) a state president.”

Britten’s article directly rubber-stamps the commonsense racism etched into the white mainstream mentality. She may have been too polite to say outright who she is referring to, but the automatic default is that she is referring to black people — after all she chooses to point out the jobs that we all know are majority black positions in a post-1994 South Africa when she seems to state that all teachers, police officers, bureaucrats and government officials are faking it. And many of her readers responded to her article with this racialised social make-up in mind, as exemplified in some of the choice responses below.

James Doe #

I work at a major law firm in SA.

Everything about this incident happens daily where I work.

In the name of “transformation”, the firm employs people who are utterly incompetent.

It is so sad. Terrible for employer, employee, and everyone else in society.

Everyone suffers the consequences of the absurdities that have become our normal.

“Franco # I try to explain to my friends how south africa is run comparing it to old Zim in one side and others on the other side Gana, Nigeria…) and how S Africa is deteriorating every day on the eyes of the financial markets and of the world. This “fake interpreter” can explain everything. Thats SA today. Sad Very sad. (sic)”

Like so many purveyors of white privilege, Britten’s pleasantly rendered article contains the quietly violent presence of learned racism just beneath the friendly tone and within the seemingly innocuous and “concerned” language — though, it would seem, the author is totally oblivious of this fact.

In her disparate attempt to come across as both a “non-racial” and “racially aware” commentator, as she tries in vain to push aside her rose-coloured privileged lenses, Britten has said more about the state of South Africa’s current whiteness ideology than critical whiteness studies students will be able to analyse in a year.

She might not recognise her own racist undertones, but the fact that she had the hegemonic chutzpah to include such a blatant insult to those who she writes off as fake, while not being aware of how offensive this all is, has taught us some remarkable truths about the insensitivity and non-reflectiveness of the prejudicial white discourse as it plays out in public commentary — and this has spoken volumes to South Africa about how invisible white privilege is to those who simply will not examine their personal racism.

So in the end, the fake signer at Mandela’s memorial, pithily told us just how far we still have to go to see the truly non-racist world that Madiba dreamed of. He told us how unkind the white narrative about blackness remains, even though the new democracy bent over backwards to accommodate white people and reassure them that their fear of blackness was unfounded.

But perhaps what this fake signer was really telling us, in frantic hand gestures, was that it is time to stamp out and say no more to this ongoing tasteless and unfounded white racist commonsense discourse. What he actually “eloquently” demonstrated in the end was how much more nonsensical and absurd this unconscious or conscious racist narrative is than the gibberish he rendered on the stage of Madiba’s memorial .

Now there’s a thought.

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    • Judith

      He stated that the event overwhelmed him and he suffered an attack. Pure stage fright that left the deaf bewildered. No different from singers who have completely fluffed their national anthems when asked to perform at the Olympics

    • http://Wow.sydneymajoko.wordpress.com Sydney

      In Defence of Sarah Britten: Now, there’s a title I never thought I’d put down on paper. Not that there’s anything wrong with her views or writing, I just never thought I’d one day defend her views or column against another columnist, who also happens to be white.

      Gillian, as always, a well-written eloquent piece. I disagree with the thrust of your article though. What came across to me from Sarah’s article was the lack of accountability from most state entities. Yes, most state entities post-94 are manned by black people but nobody’s saying the lack of accountability is because of race.

      The “eloquence of the signing man” comes from knowing that there are state departments that should have picked up that Thamsanqa had a medical condition, for example, State security in doing their security checks on whoever would be on stage. That this was not picked up, according to Sarah, points to a lack of systems that would enforce accountability.

      This lack of accountability extends to teacher absenteeism, police brutality and other state departments, not because they are manned by blacks, but because systems are not adhered to, by both black and white civil servants.

      As for the comments, surely Sarah Britten cannot be responsible for the racist attitudes of her readers. I’ve come to learn that it’s commonplace in South Africa to insult those you differ with racially online. Blacks do it, and so do white people. I’m black, but I thought Sarah Britten had a point.

    • Marleen

      Great piece. A white person pointing out the mistakes of white people, now there’s a thought!

    • CJ

      The narrative of the fake signer has definitely crossed a clear line into racist and bigoted territory, which you rightly point out in the strongest possible terms.

      That a fake signer, whose inability to sign correctly so as to provide an important service to deaf community, and that this was brought to the attention of relevant authorities who did nothing about it is absolutely something that deserves criticism though.

      I read Sarah’s article after reading this one, and I think you may be a little harsh in your critique of her and her piece, especially in light of some of her other work, which have been both critical and self-reflective on race, racism and race relations.

    • J.J.

      Here is Slavo … take on it:

      Excerpt:

      “Jantjie’s performance was not meaningless – precisely because it delivered no particular meaning (the gestures were meaningless), it directly rendered meaning as such – the pretence of meaning. Those of us who hear well and do not understand sign language assumed that his gestures had meaning, although we were not able to understand them. And this brings us to the crux of the matter: are sign language translators for the deaf really meant for those who cannot hear the spoken word? Are they not much more intended for us – it makes us (who can hear) feel good to see the interpreter, giving us a satisfaction that we are doing the right thing, taking care of the underprivileged and hindered.”

      Full article and comments:
      http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/16/fake-mandela-memorial-interpreter-schizophrenia-signing

    • J.J.

      And a comment by: “originofthespecies”

      “This reminds me of something my son said recently. We were watching some TV programme or other and it had the sign language woman in the corner signing away to the programme.

      My kid looked puzzled for a moment and then asked. “why do they need sign language? Why can’t they use subtitles?

      and he was right of course. What was the point of this woman signing away in the corner of the screen when they could have just written subtitles along the bottom of the screen. Deaf people are deaf, not illiterate. They can read subtitles just as well as I can. So why the signer in the corner, distractingly taking up a chunk of the screen?

      The only reason I could think of is the one put forward by Slavoj Žižek above. It was so the TV station could show the world that it was doing something for the deaf.”

      Quoted from: (under: Staff Replies)
      http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/16/fake-mandela-memorial-interpreter-schizophrenia-signing

    • Graham

      Ok, so a state department hires a unqualified person from a non-existent company to stand alongside world leaders in probably the most viewed event ever in SA.

      Yet what we should really take out of this is that whites are still racist.

    • Nandipha

      Now that’s food for thought. I was still too angry and embarrassed when I read Sarah’s article, I probably overlooked the racial undertones. However, you are right, everything about her article is directed at the incompetency of the black people and our lack of accountability culture!

      Your article is on point Britney. Thank you for cleverly and critically analysing Sarah’s piece!

    • Nandipha

      sorry, meant to say Gillian!

    • Mbonisi

      Gillian, its called subliminal racism. Its always hidden behind catch phrases about competences; mediocrity etc, etc. We always know and have always known that in the context of South Africa, these are terms that reserved for use against the black race. This is why most of the people who throw them around with abandon are usually mostly white. Its the same attitude that comes from those who claim that “when we arrived, there were no black people in Southern Africa…..”.

      That, save for the differences that are largely environmental, Africans are basically the same people wherever they resided on the continent is totally lost to some of these racists. The movement of people within the continent is very much like the movement of people within their own home – they surely cannot be compared with those who came from outside the home/continent and grabbed this and that for themselves at the expense of the residents/locals.

      Efforts are continuously made to split hairs between Africans; as the case is between the San and the rest of the Africans on the continent – but the fact that the San are Africans and generationally related to the rest of Africans on the continent is conveniently ignored; simply to drive certain racist agendas.

      Big yawn indeed in this new SA – when will it all end? One wonders whether it was all worth it, for Nelson Mandela to spend 27 years of his prime life in jail only to reconcile with some of the most incorrigible racists the world has ever…

    • J.J.

      Ok, I can see both sides to this. But if we lean too much towards how this is an example of subliminal or overt racism, then we still end up at avoiding accountability for this having happened. Race and racism aside this was a balls-up of epic proportions. That’s all it was though – no point in feeling embarrassed about it either. It happened.Let’s make sure it doesn’t again. Let’s learn and move on.

    • Corneel

      And if the signing man was fake and white they would have blamed some black manager that allowed him to sign. The internal white narrative is to blame blacks for how the country is run and the point seems to be to “prove” that they (blacks) cannot run a country… which is racist but also uninformed because they don’t know the real history of South Africa and therefore don’t understand the social dynamics of what is going on. When I heard the sign language man was fake I just felt sorry for him, clearly he has some issues and needs help. Clearly the person in charge of the arrangements should have double checked this guy’s credentials and the backup signer should have pointed out that the guy does not know sign language… unless there was no backup signer which would point to more managerial incompetence. But unfortunately incompetence can never just be that… it always have to be portrayed as black incompetence. Thanks for the good article.

    • Arthur

      Good God, woman, haven’t you got anything better to write about?

    • Gerald

      Gillian,
      The issue is NOT about hearing-impaired individuals. It IS about government incompetence in ensuring international standards during an internationally attended and viewed event. Whether this is construed by individuals as a black or white issue, however misplaced, is the individuals’ right and you will never change that. Always remember, perception is fact in the mind of the individual.

    • Momma Cyndi

      Must be hard to cover every mirror in your house. That level of fear is just too much to imagine.

      One question: If Jantjies had been white, would Sarah have written the same thing and would your reaction to it have been the same?

    • Momma Cyndi

      Oh, and for those of you wondering why we have a sign language interpreter on the TV, it is for three main reasons:

      1. Not every deaf person is literate
      2. Not every deaf person can read in 11 different languages (all languages in SA have the same sign – kind of a universal translator – thank you, dankie, ngiabonga, etc all have the same sign)
      3. Why not just have subtitles and no news reader? Give everyone the exact same level of interaction.

    • Truthandconsequences

      Apart from the broken record white-evil-black-holy refrain of this columnist’s latest rant, I smell CATFIGHT!!

      Wot, Gillian, is miss Sarah (whomever she is) prettier than you? Better off financially? Not as poisonous and screechy?

      Who knows….but I’ll bet good money that intra-gender sororicide is behind this latest outburst ha ha ha……

    • http://thoughtleader.co.za/rodmackenzie Rod MacKenzie

      @Graham, you say “Ok, so a state department hires a unqualified person from a non-existent company to stand alongside world leaders in probably the most viewed event ever in SA.

      Yet what we should really take out of this is that whites are still racist”.

      I couldnt put it more succinctly. Turning this spectacle into racist cant obscures the real issue of accountability.

    • Lynne Correia

      Gillian….you’re not perhaps Dave Harris in drag, are you?

    • PM

      When all you know is how to hammer, then everything starts to look a bunch of nails….

    • Tofolux

      @Gillian, I too was quite taken aback at the covert and overt messaging that accompanied this story. It was insulting to say the least. Not only do I think that a particular tv news station is and will continuously frame extremely biased and anti-black views they too have become overly papparazi-like. The commentary and framing not smacks of a particular hypocrisy, it has become overly political and narrow much like the anti-black hypocrisy per a particular author you mention. To my mind there is mis-use and abuse to promote a particular prejudice, I believe that we who are the receiving end of their insults have a right to reply and I would like that writer to respond. On the side though, I wonder if some of the writers on this platform realise how far removed they are from reflecting our views. The disconnect is so obvious and it brings home the point the Thabo Mbeki so elloquently makes, we do live in two different worlds and I would add, beware and behold when the two shall one day meet.

    • Peter Terry

      Yesterday’s cricket, as seen by Gillian Schutte : After Day 1’s patronising “Let’s pretend that the Indians are equal to us” showing, the true institutionalised racism within the South African team came to the fore when they allowed their colonialist mentality to surface by making their black bowler (Philander) destroy the indentured visitors within a few overs. In a further attempt to assert their patriarchal hegemony, the South Africans then sacrificed their two black batsmen – Peterson and Amla – while “Captain” Smith tried to show them how good the white man was. Afterwards, it was the patronising attitude of Kallis and de Villiers (while allowing the so-called coloured slave Duminy to look foolish) which led to the black man (Philander) having to carry his white “team mates” on his shoulders by forcing him to try to rescue the innings. Be sure that, if South Africa is not made to look inferior by virtue of the slave’s ingratiating servitude, the white players will call the parity “theirs”, not his.

    • Derek

      Aaah – the race card – how novel.

      I think there was gross incompetence and I think it needs to be said. The incompetence is all the ANC’s – if that is somehow translated by the hearers of the message to be black incompetence, then so be it. The ANC was told/warned after using this interpreter at other events that his signing was sub-standard and yet they used his services again. That is incompetence – if me saying that makes me a racist, then I wear that badge with pride. I refuse to be bullied by accusations of being racist.

    • alexx zarr

      Whatever lens I choose to see the world though, is how I shall see it…if I have a racist lens, then I’ll believe that whatever others may say, write, do, imply, or think is racist. I can find ‘evidence’ for most things in most circumstances if I choose to do so.
      Some folk are captured by their belief that: White = racist, Black = stupid, Women = 2nd class, Old = useless…and so it goes. No matter what, they will believe this nonsense. They are trapped in their belief system. All their stories reflect their belief system.
      Like all belief systems, it is not real…

    • nguni

      Love it, only Gillian could draw this conclusion.
      The epitome of incompetence hung out for all the world to see, but bottom line it’s all whitey’s fault! How dare they criticise the poor confused sick boy like that, as well as the idiots who gave him the job?! Let’s ignore the immediate issue, the irreparable damage to SA’s reputation! This is the same mentality that’s witch-hunting the Nkandla leaks and ignoring the scandal.
      Your logic is so twisted, you can…
      – Oh never mind, the raw truth never gets past the censors anyway.

    • http://www.vibrantmedia.co.za Mike

      Spot on again Gillian!

      After 300 years of white domination, we should not only accept these standards, we should embrace them and admonish these racists when they point out mediocrity.

      Viva the revolution viva.

    • Gavin Came

      The incompetance of the government is what makes it extremely easy for racists to flock in and make hay. Some demonstrable success in service delivery, planning and implementation in the harsh spotlight of the public gaze would go a long way in silencing and rooting out the racists

    • Karney

      What a vindictive and nasty personal attack on Sarah Britten under the guise of that favourite old hoary chestnut of yours, ” white privilege “. You clearly have taken an intense dislike to her but to use the Thoughtleader site to vent this is childish. The fact is, the ANC have stated on many platforms that they hold cadre loyalty and deployment above merit and experience. They have manipulated and abused BEE and AA to achieve this. Mediocrity has become the norm in most state run institutions and it is evident on any visit to a state hospital, court, public department. How is the public of all races meant to react to this? To blame their outrage, sadness, criticism on white privilege is beyond belief.

    • Savi

      Thanks Gillian. Good to have someone point out these issues, for the mainstream mafia that includes the likes of Sarah Britten, and other such pseudo-liberals, believe freedom of speech and other such niceties belong only to them. Whites only please, the right white, to qualify. Everybody else, especially when you are black or a ‘renegade’ white like yourself, keep quiet, we’re not trying to hear your voice, there is no place for such in post-Apartheid SA. Just because the laws have been repealed doesn’t mean that blacks should think they have rights.

      I find it peculiar that racial generalisations are acceptable when applied to black people. One dares not do so to whites in South Africa. For Sarah Britten to allude to the Mimer as representative of black people is interesting. I would then like to read something by her alluding to white South Africans as rapists, thieves, murderers, and people lacking any sense of morality, justice, and humanity – as evidenced by the best idea white people had in this country, namely Apartheid, a complete failure of a system that we can hold responsible for our social and economic problems today.

      If anything, the Mimer is an example of how far gone the ANC is, and how far all of us South Africans are allowing this show to continue. Let’s us do something about that and not stoop to banal and dangerously petty racial generalisations.

      Keep it up Gillian.

    • Walter

      Gillian, Sarah and her readers are NOT commenting on race, or even people, but the idiotic policies which leads to these sorts of embarrassments. The fake-signer is a symptom of the danger of these laws and revealed the cold sore of political stupidity, where games are played with people, businesses and property rights using laws as weapons to attack honest, productive citizens.

      Like it or not, but Affirmative Action, BBEEE and other chiaroscuro based laws have rather unfortunate economic and social repercussions. It affects people at the coal face. Even the so-called beneficiaries of these policies are never measured by what they produce, or it’s quality. And those who could qualify on hue but made it on their own are unfortunately tainted. It’s HUMAN nature to come to simple conclusions based on these laws, not racism.

      But two questions Gillian: If white people are to feel included in your democracy, how can they practice it at it’s basest of levels if they cannot comment on the ANC’s impressively consistent inability to manage anything more than a meet-n-greet? What is an acceptable way for a middle-aged white man to complain or comment on political matters that affect him, in your view?

      I note above that the race-cryptologists are out en force, finding racial bent from the most benign of opinions.

      PS. I never read any deliberate racism from any of the SA media outlets comments. If you have to lie to make a cheap point..

    • Owen

      Having read Sarah’s article, What is being said here is that if one demands competency from a state department then one is racist.

      Now we all know that if one needs a commissioner of oaths to sign an affidavit one goes to the police station and it gets done. So now if the Nelspruit police station cannot do this properly so that is stands up in a court of law, I must then say nothing!!!! and think nothing!!!!

      My lawyer recently said this. ‘ in the real world we would have a legal problem BUT here the Pietermaritzburg Master of the courts won’t know the difference.’

      So tell me at what point must I NOT see a relationship between indigenous African rule and incompetence and draw some stupid racial conclusions???

      The whole thing around the signer was just sheer incompetence. Period.

      Maybe I must be PC and keep quiet. Signed ex liberal now stupid racist

    • J.J.

      And on a lighter note…

      http://i.imgur.com/Wv4GTI9.gif

    • Lilian

      Really Gillian, I expect better from you.

    • bernpm

      @Peter Terry” :Yesterday’s cricket, as seen by Gillian Schutte :………tThanks, great piece of enjoyable sarcasm and good for a laugh!!

      I hope Gillian can see the fun.

      @Rod: The real issue in this saga is that a mentally handicapped person (with some references to violent behavior in the past) arrives on a platform in reaching distance of high profile (global level) people.
      Having some knowledge of sign language, even I noticed that he was not “competent” in this language. I felt puzzled about his presence on stage and a little amused.

      When the story broke, I was more concerned about the image of SA in security matters for high profile guests. Would American security officials allow their President to visit again.
      As such a matter is in hands of the Government (=ANC=mainly black) some people could step into the racial aspects as the ANC is generally not very popular these days. Not my take but………….I have noticed similar utterances in New Zealand on Maories in jokes or in a more serious context.
      Must I conclude that all white New Zealanders are racist???????? You tell me.
      Same question for South Africans

      FYI: I do normally not respond to articles from this Gillian Schutte.

    • Matt

      “how useless all blacks are at, well everything’. In place of critiquing the obvious issue of ableism and exposing how this phenomenon ignores the needs of the mentally challenged and the physically disabled, the main thrust of the public discourse that developed around this fake interpreter, was how this fiasco was proof of black ineptitude.”

      Seriously?Just because he was black I did not label him as you said. He was useless at his ‘job’. I don’t judge people on race but personal traits and how they work.

    • Brianb

      Whenever I read repeated attempts to frame various issues in black vs white vs black terms I get a sinking feeling.
      It seems that there is a delusion that the reason that the country has problems is either caused by black inefficiency or white intransigence depending on which side of the fence the critic sits.
      I get a sinking feeling because finding fault does not solve the problems.
      I believe there is a silent majority of all South Africans who work hard and want a brighter future .
      They are being denigrated by a core of observers who are high on rhetoric but are doing little to contribute towards solutions.

    • Tofolux

      @mommacyn, if Jantjies has been white, the word ‘ability’ would never be used. In fact, I doubt we would have had discussion let alone in the public domain. So yes, momma and others, these practises that y’all so glibly engage in and cannot bring yourselves to rise above, will one day come back to haunt you.

    • Waqar Yunis

      The cricket commentary is hilarious – a spot on parody. The cynical, poisonous blogs like this should be consigned to the scrapheap of ridicule they deserve. Unfortunately this kind of cynical, manipulative junk is a growth industry in SA, as it is the main stream of the ANC’s propaganda. One has to hope that some day the ‘political correctness’ that allows garbage like this to be considered mainstream will disappear, and people of courage will speak out against propaganda like this.

    • MTHWAKAZI KA NDABA

      Pity Mandela – what a wasted 27 years and gestures of goodwill, ubuntu and reconciliation. Some White people will NEVER change; always the incorrigible racists as always. Its once a racist, always a racist!!!

    • Zeph

      It was sheer incompetence. It was like a Monty Python sketch. It most probably only came about because of greed and vested interests. It was born out of arrogance i.e. the government did not listen to the deaf when the deaf complained. It was a joke and hugely embarrassing.
      Did it play into the hands of the African Stereotype? Absolutely. And whose fault is that?

    • Zeph

      One last thing…I found this article patronising.

    • http://maravi.blogspot.com/ MrK

      The problem is that you cannot have an honest discussion with individuals who act in bad faith.

      ‘Competence’ has become the new ‘Standards’. It is just a catchall code for the threat that Black competence poses to the status quo.

      This is why no matter how competent, even when overqualified, the cry is ‘incompetence’, whenever anything happens that the observer doesn’t like. So Barack Obama’s qualification, birth certificate, competency are continuously questioned, even though he came first in his class in Harvard, was the first Black Editor of the Harvard Law Review, was a professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago, was an Indiana State senator, and briefly a US Senator. His IQ is probably off the charts, yet is qualifications and competence, including that of his appointees, are continuously questioned.

      The same in Zimbabwe. Land reform problems are always and immediately pinned on African competence in farming, never on the economic sanctions like ZDERA that destroyed the national currency, the hundreds of millions of dollars negative advertising campaign that has run for a decade, or the individual success of what are now ever 110,000 new tobacco farmers, according to Bloomberg (see how I need to quote a white source of information, because whatever the Zimbabwean government says is dismissed out of hand, no matter how verifiable what they say is, or how irrational the charges against them are).

    • Stefan du Preez

      Dear Gillian

      I am afraid that I might be breathing in a racist manner.

      Can you please help ?

      Regards

      Stefan

    • http://maravi.blogspot.com/ MrK

      The BBC, of course, considering who works for them, are champions at this. They showed the casket bearers stumbling at Samora Machel’s funeral when taking some awkward angle, and this made it through the editorial process. Al-Jazeera when doing an interview on land reform in Zimbabwe lingered on some chicken with some bald patches around it’s neck, as if this was a signifier of the new farms. This is what they do.

      So, you can have cries of ‘fake interpreter’, even though all the evidence is that Thamsanqa Jantjie worked for a real interpreters company, that he has done singing at events before, and there is a real trackrecord that he has as mental health history (he was a patient at the Sterkfontein Psychiatric Hospital in Krugersdorp).

      So how is he ‘a fake’, instead of a mental patient who should not have been hired? Whose company should not have been hired?

      However, now for the effect of this continuous questioning of African competence – the fact that it is made very difficult for the ANC to admit any mistakes.

      And the problem with that is, that mistakes cannot be acknowledged, and therefore cannot be corrected.

    • http://maravi.blogspot.com/ MrK

      If every stumble is going to be interpreted as a referendum on whether you should have any job at all, that is not equality, nor is it conducive to progress. In fact, it is interrupting the learning process, because people have a tendency to learn more from their mistakes than their successes. For the honest and intelligent person, failing is an essential part of the learning process. For the racist, failure is just the first step on the way to defeat. And no one takes ‘good advice’ from their enemies.

      Will the JSC debunk the myth of white judicial competence?
      http://www.thoughtleader.co.za/paulngobeni/2009/09/18/will-the-jsc-debunk-the-myth-of-white-judicial-competence/comment-page-1/

    • http://maravi.blogspot.com/ MrK

      Another way to look at it, is that not nationalizing the mines, means that people are fighting eachother over a share in a very small existing cake.

      The solution is to make the cake larger, by taking back the South African people’s ownership of their own natural resources, as well as redistributing the land into EU sized farms of 90 (or 100) hectares per farm/family, instead of the current average 1350 hectares, so that everyone can earn at least $20,000 – $30,000 per year.

      (YOUTUBE) Zephaniah Phiri and Water Harvesting, “Phiri Pits” in Mazvihwa Zimbabwe
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXLD0akTmrI

      (YOUTUBE) The Rainwater Harvester
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22V4vUtNC8Q

      Notice that people were moved from high rainfall areas to low rainfall areas, where their high rainfall farming methods combined overcrowding caused erosion. It is colonial policy that is at the basis of this in the first place.

      The results are extremely impressive considering they may have only one day of rainfall per year.

    • http://RMB Conrad Hoffman

      That is no excuse for ineptitude.

    • http://hismastersvoice.wordpress.com The Creator

      I’m inclined to agree with J J. Complaining about the racist undertones of a case where an incompetent person was hired by the government to embarrass the nation in the eyes of the world, is a bit like complaining about the racist undertones of all this fuss made about Nkandla. Sure there are other rich scumbags who have stolen more cash and most of them are white, but still, the fact that the thieving scumbag happens to be the guy who became President because his party got three-fifths of the vote is something deserving mention.

      There are a lot of better instances to discuss.

    • http://maravi.blogspot.com/ MrK

      Conrad Hoffman #

      ” That is no excuse for ineptitude. ”

      It is also no excuse for sounding like a broken record for 65 years.

      You’ve run out of ideas.

    • Brent

      Mrk, just one question, where did yu get the informatin that Obama came first in his class at Harvard? Obama’s university results are locked up and not available so please give us your sources as the whole Conservative media in the USA has been trying for years to get the results. Brent