South Africa’s deaf federation said Wednesday that the interpreter used for the Johannesburg memorial – attended by nearly 100 heads of state, including U.S. President Barack Obama – was a fake. Outraged leaders in the deaf community said the mystery man was “literally flapping his arms around.”
The national director of the Deaf Federation of South Africa confirmed the mystery man — who stood on stage through speeches made by U.S. President Barack Obama and several other world leaders — was merely punching the air during his performance at the FNB soccer stadium.
“He was moving his hands around, but there was no meaning in what he used his hands for,” the director, Bruno Druchen, told the Associated Press.
“What happened at the memorial service is truly a disgraceful thing to see,” Braam Jordaan, a board member of the federation, told Australia’s SBS News. “It should not happen at all.”
Read more: Mandela Memorial Fake Out