Sign language interpreter at Mandela memorial was faking it

The guy that was standing on the stage signing yesterday at the Mandela memorial knows as much sign language as I do, which is none. Well, I do at least know how to say “thank you” in sign language which apparently this guy doesn’t even know.

A fake sign language interpreter took to the stage during yesterday’s memorial for anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela, gesticulating gibberish before a global audience of millions and outraging deaf people across the world.

DeafSA, South Africa’s leading deaf association, condemned the presence of the unknown man at the memorial to Mandela attended by President Jacob Zuma and scores of world leaders including US president Barack Obama.

While dignitaries were addressing the crowd in the 95,000-seat Soccer City stadium, the young suited man with an official security pass round his neck produced a series of hand signals that experts said meant absolutely nothing.

“He was basically gesturing. He didn’t follow any of the grammatical rules and structure of the language. He just invented his signs as he went along,” said Delphin Hlungwane, an official South African sign language interpreter at DeafSA. “There was zero percent accuracy. He couldn’t even get the basics right. He couldn’t even say thank you.”

The best thing is, nobody seems to have any idea who this guy is, at least they’re not admitting to it if they do. South African officials are currently hunting for the unidentified man.

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