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Sign language interpreter at Mandela service branded 'fake'

11:26 AM, Dec 11, 2013   |    comments
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Video: Raw: Sign language interpreter at Mandela memorial

President Barack Obama waves standing next to the sign language interpreter after making his speech at the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto. (Photo: Matt Dunham, AP)

The sign language interpreter used at Tuesday's memorial service for Nelson Mandela was being called a "fake," news reports said.

Australia's The Age reported:

"As Mr Mandela's funeral was streamed live around the world, Wilma Newhoudt-Druchen, the first deaf woman to be elected to the South African Parliament tweeted: 'ANC-linked interpreter on the stage with dep president of ANC is signing rubbish. He cannot sign. Please get him off.' "

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The Associated Press also reported the allegation, which could not be independently confirmed Wednesday by USA TODAY.

The AP said it was told by the national director of the Deaf Federation of South Africa that the signs used by the unnamed interpreter, who shared the stage with several heads of state and whose signs were broadcast around the globe, were "fake."

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

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