So… This is awkward.
Turns out the guy who did all the signing for the deaf community at Nelson Mandela’s funeral was totally faking it.
Like, actually faking it. He was just standing up on stage, while world leaders were giving heartfelt speeches, waving his arms around completely nonsensically.
Basically the equivalent of Barack Obama getting up there and just speaking gibberish.
Nobody knows his name or where he came from. They’ve been calling him The Fake Interpreter. This is him (to the right, saying “ksjdgb ksjdbg aiurar sdhfc aeaf kljdhg purple monkey dishwasher”):
This is a video (via UK deaf news website Limping Chicken) of The Fake Interpreter signing compared with an actual professional who, you know, knows how to sign:
So WTF happened? How did this guy think he would get away with it? Obviously the deaf community were going to notice that his ‘interpretation’ was more of the dance variety than the official sign language variety.
The “Um… What’s up with THIS guy?” tweets starting coming thick and fast. Wilma Newhoudt, the first ever deaf member of South Africa’s parliament, was one of the first notice:
ANC linked interpreter cannot sign at all, he’s making up signs. Please get him off
— wilma newhoudt (@newhoudt) December 10, 2013
The director of the Deaf Federation of South Africa, Bruno Druchen, tweeted this: