By Victor Angula|
In an article that appeared in one local daily a week ago, comedians Herman “King Gucci” Malukolo and Louis Newaka were portrayed as being wrong in their art of using “fake sign language”.
The reporter quoted the Namibian National Association of the Deaf (NNAD) executive director Mr Paul Nanyeni who in a statement said “King Gucci, we are requesting that you cease pretending to use sign language as it affects us, the real users, and it’s punishable.”
And “We ask Louis Newaka and King Gucci to remove all the videos from all social media [platforms]”.
Nanyeni said that King Gucci’s videos in which they interpret current news while using fake sign language in a hilarious way are “promoting misleading, false and defamatory information about Namibian sign language and interpreters.”
The article also quoted local comedians Fernando Tafish and Ndemufayo “Chicken” Kaxuxwena who were in agreement that King Gucci were wrong in using fake sign language in their art.
“Definitely, there should be a line drawn in comedy … I think he [King Gucci] is wrong and just needs to say he was not aware, and apologise,” Tafish was reported as saying.
“I think with King Gucci it is a misunderstanding, and he is not aware…” Chicken said.
King Gucci himself was reported in the article as having said “It’s just comedy, there is a thin line between acting and actual reality. In those videos, we are acting. We are not targeting the deaf community.”
“Our intention is pure comedy,” King Gucci said. “There is no way I would go out of my way to mock people who are hearing impaired. We are not making fun of them.”
In response to the question whether he will delete the videos on social media in which they are using fake sign language, King Gucci said “I will comfortably say no, because that is content for us. Why now? For us, it is like taking the only source of income we have from us.”
And one can say that King Gucci is right.
Sign language is a language like all other languages spoken in this world. But there is no language which is fake. Therefore there is no such a thing as a fake sign language.
King Gucci and Louis are using sign language which can be referred to as “slang sign language”.
In all languages which are standardised, there are people who speak dialects and other variations of the same language, including what can be called a slang, which is a variant of the same language but which is understood only by a small group or small community.
Nobody and no law can come out and say a certain slang is wrong and must not be used in everyday life or in art.
Even sign language. Slang sign language is just as acceptable as any slang is acceptable.
Therefore King Gucci must continue in their work.
In the photo: King Gucci doing what they do best for a living.