Fake Sign Language Guy At Mandela’s Funeral: Disgusting Con Man or Best Bar Story of All Time?
He may not have accomplished much. He may not have even said anything intelligible. But for a few brief, glorious minutes during Nelson Mandela’s funeral a mystery man pretended to do sign language to a worldwide audience of billions.
Somehow managing to convince the epically tight security that he was part of the show, the man stood next to President Obama and several other world leaders and waved his hands about as they spoke. Deaf people watching the event found the event either amusing or distressing – distressing because a man was making a mockery at Mandela’s funeral, and amusing because he was somehow getting away with waving his hands about, signing unintelligible fake sign-language gibberish to millions and millions of people across the globe.
Perhaps he’s just the pudgy South African version of the guy from Catch Me If You Can, bullshitting his way into both infamy and the annals of history at the same time.
Or perhaps he’s just a regular guy who now has the most incredible bar story of all time.
I wrote this for Esquire.