Mandela sign interpreter a 'fake'

By Drum Digital
11 December 2013

The sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela's memorial service at the FNB stadium south of Johannesburg is being called "a fake."

He was not signing properly.

"He is a complete and utter fraud," Sign Language Education and Development in Cape Town director Cara Loening told Sapa.

"If he values his life he must come clean because the deaf community throughout the world are outraged."

She said not one of his signs had anything to do with sign language.

"It was like getting somebody off the street and telling them to flap their hands around," said Loening.

"This man made a mockery of the service. How disrespectful for what Madiba stood for."

She said the interpreter had no clue about sign language. "Deaf people had very, very little access to information from the memorial service." Loening said sign language was a full and recognised language that would be taught in schools soon.

The interpreter in the SABC wraps of the memorial was an accredited, qualified, and accurate sign language interpreter, said Loening.

Government spokeswoman Phumla Williams said she was unable to respond to the allegations immediately, as she did not know which department procured the service provider.

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