Tuesday’s memorial for Nelson Mandela has sparked more than one controversy. What I initially found odd was that the huge stadium appeared to be close to empty. The man they were paying tribute to had endured almost 27 years in prison on Robben Island and these people couldn’t take a bit of rain! But it has come out that the sparse attendance was a protest of unpopular President Jacob Zuma who refused to designate Tuesday a national holiday. Knowing they would be able to pay their respects to Mandela as he lay in state later this week, many tried to embarrass the President in front of the world.
… perhaps the bogus sign-language interpreter while madly flailing and flapping his arms about, inadvertently signed “The stadium is under attack; run!”
There are a couple of other rumours floating about that may explain the thousands of empty seats. The first is that as Bishop Desmond Tutu took the podium to address the stadium, many in the crowd, knowing the good bishop’s tendency to run-on, took advantage of the situation to leave and burgle his house.
Another possible explanation is that the bogus sign-language interpreter, who now claims to have been having a schizophrenic episode at the time, while madly flailing and flapping his arms about, inadvertently signed “The stadium is under attack; run!” Those in attendance with the ability to understand quickly made for the exits and as word spread the stadium emptied. This guy should have used the Rob Ford “drunken stupor” excuse!