The Sign Language interpreter at the memorial for Nelson Mandela was apparently not doing sign language. CNN reports that, "The sign language interpreter at Tuesday's memorial service in Johannesburg for Nelson Mandela may have appeared to have been translating spoken words into gestures during the four hours he appeared on television screens around the world, but he was a fake, observers said Wednesday.
"The so-called 'interpreter' ... at FNB stadium has been dubbed the 'fake interpreter' and the deaf community is in outrage," said Bruno Druchen, national director of the Deaf Federation of South Africa (DeafSA), in a statement.
"He is not known by the Deaf Community in South Africa nor by the South African Sign Language interpreters working in the field."
The man showed no facial expressions, which are key in South African sign language, and his hand signals were meaningless, Druchen said. "It is a total mockery of the language," he added.
The service to commemorate the statesman, who died last week at 95, was broadcast to millions of viewers.
While dignitaries addressed the crowd at Johannesburg's FNB stadium, the unidentified, suited man produced a series of hand signals that experts said meant nothing.
"It was almost like he was doing baseball signs," deaf actress Marlee Matlin told CNN on Wednesday, through a sign-language interpreter. "I was appalled."
#Smh #iFeelSorryForThosePoorConfusedDeafPeople #RIPMandela