Thursday, December 12, 2013

Canadian Association of the Deaf (CAD) Press Release about "Fake Interpreter" at Mandela Memorial in South Africa

CAD denounces “Fake Interpreter” at Mandela memorial in South Africa
December 12, 2013

For immediate release 

12 December 2013 (Ottawa, ON) The Canadian Association of the Deaf joins in the world-wide condemnation of the South African government’s use of a fake Sign language interpreter at the ceremonies honouring the memory of Nelson Mandela.

“Nelson Mandela’s life and achievements were devoted to the equality of all peoples, regardless of race or disability,” said Frank Folino, CAD President. “He would be terribly saddened and embarrassed to see government of South Africa knowingly use a phony interpreter. It is a deliberate mockery of people who are Deaf.”

Mr. Folino noted that the same person had already been identified and proven to be a fake at an earlier event, and that the South African national Deaf association had formally protested to the government. But the government not only ignored the complaint, it went ahead and used the same person again.

“This time it has happened on a stage where the entire world is watching,” said Folino. He cited the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which supports “recognizing and promoting the use of Sign languages” (Article 21, section e) and “facilitating the learning of Sign language and the promotion of the linguistic identity of the Deaf community” (Article 24, section 3b). 

“We ask the Government of South Africa to meet with the South African national Deaf association to listen to their concerns and those of Deaf people around the world,” he concluded. 


Canadian Association of the Deaf is the oldest national disabled consumers organization in Canada. It protects and promotes the rights, needs, and concerns of Deaf people in Canada who use our official signed languages (American Sign Language (ASL) and Langue des Signes Québécoise (LSQ)).

Media Contacts: Frank Folino, President at or Jim Roots, Executive Director