'Fake' sign language interpreter flaps his way through Nelson Mandela memorial
In this picture taken on December 10, 2013 US President Barack Obama delivers a speech next to a sign language interpreter (R) during the memorial service for late South African President Nelson Mandela at Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg. South Africa's deaf community on December 11, 2013 accused the sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela's memorial of being a fake, who had merely flapped his arms around during speeches. Mandela, the revered icon of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa and one of the towering political figures of the 20th century, died in Johannesburg on December 5 at age 95. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER JOE (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images) Photo: Image by AFP/Getty Images
The sign language interpreter stationed in a prominent place on stage next to President Obama and other dignitaries at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela this week is being called a fraud. The New York Times and multiple other sources are reporting that the man who "signed" his way through the state funeral in South Africa Tuesday was, in fact, merely "flapping his arms and gesticulating in what was supposed to be sign language for the hearing-impaired," the Times reports. Sign language experts are calling him an imposter, and expressing outrage at the man's utter lack of signing skills.