‘Fake interpreter’ at Mandela memorial enrages deaf community

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:

We make it make sense

If this story helped you navigate your world, subscribe to the M&G today for just R30 for the first three months

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.”

Related stories


Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Latest stories

Eskom ramps up load-shedding to stage 4

Unit at Kusile power station trips, taking 720 megawatts of generating capacity with it.

Zimbabweans stuck in limbo in South Africa

The legal challenge to Zimbabwean Exemption Permit deadline in December is being led by the controversial Simba Chitando, who is the head of Zanu-PF’s Sandton branch and whose uncle is Zimbabwe’s mining minister

Reserve Bank may hike interest rates by 50 bps on...

This week a spotlight is shone on a potential interest rate hike, inflation statistics and retail trade sales

Parliamentary legal opinion urges steps on MPs, former minister named...

Senior MP Cedric Frolick should face an inquiry by the ethics committee while Gwede Mantashe and Nomvula Mokhonyane could face criminal sanction

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…