Fake interpreter, real hustle

You gotta feel for this dude. With unemployment that high in South Africa, he immediately jumped at the chance when his buddy said that there might be a position and asked him whether he knew sign language. Sure he did, or at least he would know it until he had to sign for the first time at an ANC event some time ago. He bought some books. But boy, this was hard. Time was running out and there was still so much to learn, practically everything to be honest. Who knew sign language was so complex? So he got on stage at that first event with a heavy heart and signed away the best he could, which wasn't much, but at least he put in some effort. As he gestured, he expected to be called out, to be exposed as a fraud on the spot, or at least later on, behind the stage. Perhaps he would even be jailed.

But no one called him out. No one exposed him, and no one put him in jail. In fact, people seemed to like his work, his visible effort for inclusion. He was booked again, for a conference a few months later. Wiping the sweat off his brow, he vowed to really learn sign language until then. But what with having a job now, buying things, living his life, somehow he didn't find the time. And when he signed at that conference (in between sudden bouts of panic), again no one said anything against him, and this time even more people seemed to like what he did. Some even seemed impressed, a few young ladies among them. The bookings started to roll in now.

This dude lived the high life. Working for South Africa's ruling party, fighting for inclusion, standing next to important people. Sometimes, he skimmed some YouTube videos about signing, to assuage a tiny nagging doubt in his mind, but mostly, he didn't bother and just moved his hands and arms as he thought appropriate. Wasn't this a form of signing too, perhaps a more efficient, more elegant one? He felt that he was working hard. That he was earning his salary.

Then the day after Madiba died, the fateful call came. Someone at the ANC had recommended him for the big memorial, and was he free on that day? To sign the speeches of Jacob Zuma, some world leaders he did not know, and even the President of the United States? There was this tiny fear again which never seemed to go away, however much he tried to drown it in luxuries. But mostly, there was immense joy, pride, giddy elation. He called his parents in their humble hometown. Their boy, next to Obama! He had finally made it. Right away, he went to buy a new suit. He had to look his best. This would be his great day. Beamed onto millions of screens worldwide, his face in every home. He would do his thing, and he would be set for life. The Mandela Memorial Interpreter, at your service for a little fee. Perhaps he would even think of marrying now. What could stop him? What could go wrong??

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