Sign language interpreter at Mandela ceremony a 'fake'

"He was moving his hands around but there was no meaning in what he used his hands for."

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. Jackson Mthembu, spokesman for the governing African National Congress party, declined to comment.

``Government will be able to assist you,'' Mthembu said.

Three sign language experts said the man was not signing in South African or American sign languages. South African sign language covers all of the country's 11 official languages, according to the federation.

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.''

South African parliament member Wilma Newhoudt-Druchen, a member of the ruling party who is deaf and who is married to Druchen, also said the man communicated nothing with his hand and arm movements. AP interviewed both Druchen, who also is deaf, and Newhoudt-Druchen by telephone using an interpreter.

Leave a comment:

showing all comments · Subscribe to comments
  1. GaryG posted on 12/11/2013 05:39 PM
    A 3rd world backward nation on the world stage--what would you expect?
  2. DMCP posted on 12/11/2013 09:14 PM
    Shameless lack of security for our world leaders. What a country. Let's get our leaders on a plane and out of there.
  3. Greg posted on 12/11/2013 09:50 PM
    Disrespectful but I'm kinda laughing. Imagine the balls on this guy to fake it in front of all those people!
  4. Donovan posted on 12/11/2013 11:56 PM
    All them monkeys are fakes
  5. abbyeartha posted on 12/24/2013 02:57 AM
    UK Swiss replica Watches are sold here. As the best replica watches, they are in great number. Hublot Replica watches are cheap.Replica tag heuer watches are 100% imitated from the authentic watches. We provide the highest quality of swiss uk cartier replica watches. fake cartier watches uk free shipping!
showing all comments

Your GTA

Sign Up For Breaking News Alerts

Becoming a member only takes 60 seconds! Members get access to exclusive information and products that non-members do not, including concert ticket presales, trips, advance notice on upcoming entertainment events, movie screening passes, music giveaways and more!

Login with Facebook

Today's Poll

Gas prices are on the rise overnight, jumping again at midnight. Is this going to affect how much you drive?

Voting is restricted to one vote every 24 hour(s) VoteResults

Top Stories