Africa

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Fraudster's sign language was all gibberish

Aislinn Laing and Josie Ensor

Published 12/12/2013|23:32

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India's President Pranab Mukherjee speaks at the podium as a sign language interpreter (R) punches the air beside him during a memorial service for late South African President Nelson Mandela at the FNB soccer stadium in Johannesburg December 10, 2013.
India's President Pranab Mukherjee speaks at the podium as a sign language interpreter (R) punches the air beside him during a memorial service for late South African President Nelson Mandela at the FNB soccer stadium in Johannesburg December 10, 2013.
Chief Rabbi of South Africa Warren Goldstein (L) speaks alongside a man passing himself off as a sign language interpreter (right) during a memorial service for Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium, in Johannesburg

A MYSTERY South African man who acted as a sign-language interpreter at Nelson Mandela's memorial service was a "fraud" who simply made "childish hand gestures" for hours as he stood on stage.

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Deaf groups say the man, who has not yet been identified, made no sense in any language to those relying on him around the world, and did not seem to know recognised signs for South Africa, 'Madiba', President Jacob Zuma or former President Thabo Mbeki.

The embarrassing revelation also raises questions about the security at the landmark event.

The interpreter, who wore the clearance pass of a government official, stood just feet from US president Barack Obama as he made his widely-praised speech.

Irish Independent

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