Mandela Ceremony Interpreter Called a ‘Fake’

Al Clendenning and Ray Faure, My Way, December 11, 2013

A man who provided sign language interpretation on stage for Nelson Mandela’s memorial service, attended by scores of heads of state, was a “fake,” the national director of the Deaf Federation of South Africa said on Tuesday.

Asked about the claim by The Associated Press, South Africa’s government said it was preparing a statement.

Three sign language experts said the man was not signing in South African or American sign languages. {snip}

The unidentified man seen around the world on television next to leaders like U.S. President Barack Obama “was moving his hands around but there was no meaning in what he used his hands for,” said Bruno Druchen, the federation’s national director.

Nicole Du Toit, an official sign language interpreter who also watched the broadcast, said in a telephone interview that the man on stage purporting to sign was an embarrassment.

“It was horrible, an absolute circus, really really bad,” she said. “Only he can understand those gestures.”

{snip}

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