'Fake interpreter' at Mandela memorial enrages deaf community

Staff Reporter

Reports questioning the validity of the sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service has sparked outrage in the deaf community.

US President Barack Obama next to the sign language interpreter at the Nelson Mandela memorial on Tuesday. (Reuters)

The sign language interpreter who stood next to the podium and interpreted what heads of states, religious leaders and other celebrated figures had to say about Nelson Mandela at his memorial service on Tuesday was a fake interpreter, say angry members of the international deaf community.

This was according to a Wednesday report from Australian news agency, Special Broadcasting Service (SBS), which added that allegations were made against the interpreter that point to him possibly being unqualified for to interpret.

The name of the interpreter has not yet been disclosed.

Board member of the World Federation of the Deaf Youth Section Braam Jordaan told SBS he believed the interpreter is a fake.

"What happened at the memorial service is truly disgraceful thing to see … thanks to this fake interpreter," he said.

"I was really upset and humiliated by the mystery interpreter who was supposed to be signing what Barack Obama, the president of United States of America, was saying," he told SBS. "He made up his own signs."

The interpreter in question was also present at the ANC's Mangaung policy conference in the Free State last year. Here is a video of him interpreting Shoot the Boer, sung by party president Jacob Zuma:

The Deaf Federation of South Africa said on Wednesday morning that it was preparing to send out a statement about the interpreter.

Here is what some had to say about it on Twitter:

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