Deaf outraged at Mandela service

00:57, Dec 11 2013

Faking it til you make it has a time and place - but onstage at Nelson Mandela's memorial service is never going to be one of them.

Deaf news blog The Limping Chicken reported the sign language interpreter at Mandela's service signed with a "strange repetitive rhythm to his movements," and "the structure of his hand and body movements didn't seem to change no matter what the speaker was saying."

The interpreter was meant to be signing what speakers were saying so that deaf viewers could understand, but South Africans involved with the deaf community took to social media to express their outrage at what was taking place.

Francois Deysel, a South African sign language trainer from Cape Town, tweeted:

@newhoudt @BrunoDruchen @ANC_KKhoza please get him off this is an embarrassment, no signs make sense, he is moving his arms try to look busy

 

Wilma Nehoudt, a deaf member of the South African Parliament and the vice president of the World Federation of the Deaf, tweeted:

Shame on this male so called interpreter on the stage. What is he signing? He knows that the deaf cannot vocally boo him off. Shame on him !

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Wales based deaf activist Alison Bryan tweeted the interpreter was a fake, and "just some random person flapping arms about"

@SarangaComics fake interpreter on stage at the Nelson Mandela Memorial Service. Just some random person flapping arms about. See tweets.

 

The Limping Chicken blog ended with some questions: "What possessed a man who supposedly can’t sign to get up there and pretend he can? Who was responsible for booking him? Did he know any sign language at all? Deaf people in South Africa will be looking for answers in the next few days.

"Above all I feel sorry for Deaf South Africans, who should have had amazing access to the service, with a top-class interpreter there on screen, but got this instead."

Fairfax Media