Sign language interpreter at Mandela memorial a fake: Reports 0
People start singing as they arrive for a mass memorial for late former South African President Nelson Mandela at First National Bank (FNB) Stadium, also known as Soccer City, in Johannesburg December 10, 2013. World leaders, from U.S. President Barack Obama to Cuba's Raul Castro, will pay homage to Mandela at the memorial that will recall his gift for bringing enemies together across political and racial divides. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
The man who stood on stage next to world leaders at Nelson Mandela's memorial and translated their speeches into sign language was a fake, according to members of South Africa's deaf community.
"This man is not a recognized, professional South Sign Language Interpreter," Bruno Druchen, national director of the Deaf Federation of South Africa, wrote on the group's Facebook page. "The signs (self-invented signs) the interpreter used are not used in South African Sign Language and it is a total mockery of the language."
Many complained on social media they couldn't understand the interpreter, who was signing during speeches by the country's president, Jacob Zuma, and U.S. President Barack Obama.
"Please get him off this is an embarrassment, no signs make sense, he is moving his arms to try to look busy," tweeted Francois Deysel, whose bio says he is sign language interpreter in Cape Town.
Actress Marlee Matlin retweeted the story from deaf news blog The Limping Chicken, adding "Unbelievable!"
The interpreter's name has so far not been released, and some people have posted pleas to identify him.