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Nelson Mandela ceremony interpreter branded 'fake'

9:16 AM, Dec 11, 2013   |    comments
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USA TODAY - The sign language interpreter used at Tuesday's memorial service for Nelson Mandela, and whose image was broadcast around the world as he shared a stage with world leaders including President Obama, was being called a "fake" by the Deaf Federation of South Africa.

Bruno Druchen, the national director of the federation, sent this tweet as the ceremony was taking place at the FNB Stadium on the outskirts of Johannesburg.

The Associated Press also reported the allegation Wednesday, saying that three sign language experts who watched the broadcast said the man was not signing in South African or American sign languages.

"It was horrible, an absolute circus, really really bad," Nicole Du Toit, an official sign language interpreter, told the AP. "Only he can understand those gestures."

USA TODAY was not able to independently confirm the allegations, which if proved true would be an enormous embarrassment to South African officials at a time when the nation is looking to celebrate the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela.

South Africa's government said it is preparing a statement.

(Copyright © 2013 USA TODAY)

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