While millions watched President Obama spek at the memorial service of Nelson Mandela and we captivated by his words, many watched in horror.

Deaf people watching the Nelson Mandela memorial were shocked by a “fake” sign language interpreter on stage whose gestures were unintelligible.

Hundreds of people took to social media to express their anger at the interpreter’s gestures, and several deaf groups confirmed his motions did not reflect the comments being made to honor Mandela

Paul Breckell, chief executive of the U.K.-based charity Action on Hearing Loss, told NBC News: “We are shocked by the quality of sign language interpretation at Nelson Mandela’s memorial — if it could be called interpretation at all.”

He added that “the limited number of signs, the amount of repetition, lack of facial expressions and huge gaps in translation meant that deaf or hard of hearing people across the world were completely excluded from one of the biggest events in recent history.”

Among the first to express their dissatisfaction was Wilma Newhoudt-Druchen, the first deaf woman to be elected to the South African parliament, who tweeted that the signing was “rubbish,” adding: “He cannot sign. Please get him off.”


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