'Fake interpreter' at Mandela memorial enrages deaf community

In this Dec. 10, 2013, photo, President Barack Obama waves as he arrives to speak at the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in the Johannesburg, South Africa township of Soweto. South Africa's deaf federation said on Wednesday that the interpreter on stage for Mandela memorial was a 'fake', (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

December 11, 2013 6:09:19 AM PST
The national director of the Deaf Federation of South Africa says a man who provided sign language interpretation on stage for Nelson Mandela's memorial service, attended by scores of heads of state, was a "fake." Asked about the claim by The Associated Press, South Africa's government said it is preparing a statement.

Bruno Druchen says the unidentified man seen around the world on television next to leaders like U.S. President Barack Obama "was moving his hands around but there was no meaning in what he used his hands for."

South African parliament member Wilma Newhoudt, a member of the ruling party, also said the man communicated nothing with his hand and arm movements. Both Druchen and Newhoudt are deaf. AP interviewed both Druchen and Newhoudt by telephone using an interpreter.

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