The interpreter who was on stage during Nelson Mandela's memorial service while standing next to President Obama and other heads of state was a fake.


Bruno Druchen, the Deaf Federation of South Africa's national director tells the Associated Press that the unidentified man was "was moving his hands around but there was no meaning in what he used his hands for."

South African sign language encompasses all of the country's 11 official languages, according to the federation.

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," Bruno Druchen, the federation's national director, told The Associated Press.

Looking serious and wearing a business suit, the man stood next to all who spoke including Obama, members of the Mandela family

Nicole Du Toit, an official sign language interpreter who also watched the broadcast described the gestures as "horrible." She added that "only he can understand those gestures."

"It was hours of complete nonsense. He is clearly a fraud who wanted to stand on stage with big and important people. It's quite audacious if you think about it," David Buxton, the CEO of the British Deaf Association, told the Telegraph of London."It is incredibly disrespectful and hurtful to the deaf community."

A number of professional interpreters watching the service were angered by the fake as he continued for the 4-hour service.

The South African government is expected to issue a statement about the man.



The Associated Press contributed to this report