Fake sign language interpreter inspires new theatre production

Writer Sophie Woolley has collaborated with choreographer Andile Vellem and director Gemma Fairlie to deliver a theater performance highlighting the need for qualified sign language interpreters.

They also focus on the challenge of slow integration of deaf people with regards to education, jobs and other sectors of society.

The Fake Interpreter incorporates sign language to drive the message home.

The production was inspired by Woolley’s own views around a fake interpreter - Thamsanqa Jantjie - used at Nelson Mandela's memorial service.

READ: What in the World Happened To ... Thamsanqa Jantjie

It takes years of training and this is why people who think that they have just done a sign course can interpret to people… you have to train in the same way a doctor would train, it’s a commitment.

Sophie Woolley, writer

There needs to be more resources. There is a will in the Constitution, a provision to promote sign language but it falls into the same grey area as the Khoisan language, it is not being called an official language.

Sophie Woolley, writer

Earlier this month the team showcased a 40-minute scratch performance to a select audience, which included pupils from the Dominican School for the Deaf at Artscape Theatre in Cape Town.

Woolley says more needs to be done to facilitate the integration of deaf children in regular schools.

Deaf people do want sign language to be taught in hearing schools. I think there should be a choice for deaf children whether they want to be in a hearing school or a deaf school.

Sophie Woolley, writer

There need to be teachers who are component in South African sign language, as well as deaf teachers.

Sophie Woolley, writer

Click below to listen to the full interview....

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