Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Hunt on for fake 'signer' who stood metres from Obama

11 December 2013, 18:30

Johannesburg - The ANC has passed the buck on the fake sign language interpreter who took to the stage during the memorial for former SA president Nelson Mandela, gesticulating gibberish before a global audience of millions and outraging deaf people across the world. 

While dignitaries were addressing the crowd in the 95 000-seat Soccer City stadium, the young, suited man stood within metres of US President Barack Obama. He had an official security pass round his neck, but no-one seems to know who he is, raising serious security questions.

The hunt is on for the man, whose identity is a mystery to South Africa's deaf community and the government, which was officially in charge of Tuesday's ceremony.

"He was basically gesturing. He didn't follow any of the grammatical rules and structure of the language. He just invented his signs as he went along," said Delphin Hlungwane, an official South African sign language interpreter at DeafSA.

"There was zero percent accuracy. He couldn't even get the basics right. He couldn't even say thank you," she told Reuters.

Hlungwane said the "interpreter" also failed to impart to television viewers - as he should have done - that the crowd gave a hostile reception to Zuma, a scandal-plagued leader who faces an election in less than six months.

"You're supposed to indicate with your facial expressions, even if it's not an exact sign," she said. "He didn't indicate that at all. It just passed him by."

The ANC professed no knowledge, even though television footage from a party congress a year ago appears to show the same man gesticulating on a stage alongside Zuma.

"I don't know this guy. He doesn't work for the ANC. It was a government event. Ask them," spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said.

Zuma spokesperson Mac Maharaj said he was checking the reports to try to determine the man's identity.

- Reuters


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
S Mbinya
What To Do If She Has A Boyfriend

Here are tips to help you get a girl who has a boyfriend: Read more...

Submitted by
George Vodongo
Kalonzo blasts DP Ruto for ‘grabb...

11 Kamba MPs declared their allegiance to Jubilee last month. Read more...

Submitted by
George Vodongo
President Uhuru Kenyatta pardons ...

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday released 7,000 petty offenders to create room in the prisons. Read more...

Submitted by
Ben Wangui
Why Mashujaa Day celebrations wer...

Find out why this year's Mashujaa Day celebrations were held in Machakos. Read more...

Submitted by
S Mbinya
Foods that burn belly fat fast

You can take your best foods and snacks and still be able to get rid of that pot belly. Read more...