South Africa’s deaf community on Wednesday accused the sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s memorial of being a fake, who had merely flapped his arms around during speeches.
“He’s a complete fraud,” Cara Loening, director of Sign Language Education and Development in Cape Town.
“He wasn’t even doing anything, There was not one sign there. Nothing. He was literally flapping his arms around.”
The interpreter, who translated U.S. President Barack Obama’s speech, looked as if he was “trying to swat a few flies away from his face and his head”.
“The deaf community in South Africa are completely outraged and nobody knows who he is,” said Loening.
“We can’t find a name or anything. The organisations who have accredited interpreters do not know him at all.”
BrunoDruchen please can someone ask the interpreter to step down from stage, it is embarrassing and making a mockery of our profession— Francois (FrancoisDeysel) December 10, 2013
The government organizers of the event, as well as broadcaster SABC could not immediately be contacted.
Attended by nearly 100 sitting and former heads of state, the speeches at Mandela’s memorial on Tuesday were supposed to be interpreted into sign language for deaf viewers.
Delphin Hlungwane, a spokesperson for the Deaf Federation of South Africa, said the man picked for the job was “just gesturing in the air”.