The hard of hearing among the global audience of millions were left without a clue as to what was being said at the memorial to the late Nelson Mandela.
One deaf South African MP tweeted during the service that the unknown person who was on the podium and signing was “signing rubbish”. “Zero percent accuracy” is how another expert summed up his ability to translate the speeches with sign language.
For some in the 95,000 seat soccer stadium it was a time to celebrate in song the life of their former president. Others struck a more sombre mood.
But at times it was jovial among several world leaders including the US President Barack Obama. Danish Prime Minister Helle Torning-Schmidt and British Prime Minister David Cameron huddled together with him for a smart phone photograph.
But it is unlikely the ‘selfie’ will ever make it onto the White House mantelpiece as one person who looked less pleased was the First Lady.
Michelle Obama stared straight ahead with her hands clasped in her lap as her husband shared a joke with the Europeans. No signer – genuine or not was needed to understand her reaction.
Obama, Cameron 'selfie' at Mandela memorial causes online stir http://t.co/lx13FJTNpb via
YahooNews</a> <a href="http://t.co/ohfYEFcOIA">pic.twitter.com/ohfYEFcOIA</a></p>— Agence France-Presse (AFP) 10 Décembre 2013