Nelson Mandela memorial interpreter admitted to psychiatric hospital
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Last Updated: Thursday, December 19, 2013, 19:39
Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha

Johannesburg: The sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela memorial, who had blamed his gibberish act on Schizophrenia, has been admitted into a psychiatric hospital, said reports.

The interpreter’s wife, Siziwe Jantjie said that the doctors had called for his immediate admission into the hospital this Tuesday.

Saying that he might have had a breakdown, his wife said, “The past few days have been hard. We have been supportive”, said local media reports.

The man named Thamsanqa Jantjie was branded as fake and widely slammed for hurting the deaf community for not making any sense on the Mandela Memorial Day as he stood on the stage just feet away from global leaders including US President Barack Obama.

Sign language interpreters said that he was “just flapping arms around” meaninglessly and making funny gestures and had connoted words like “prawn and flying horses” as he signed the speeched made by the great world leaders in the honour of Mandela.

Blaming the meaningless act on his illness, Jantjie had said last week that he had a schizophrenic attack on the memorial day and that he was listening voices in the head and seen angels coming into the memorial.

In an interview with the Johannesburg daily, The Star, Jantjie said that on the memorial day, he was hearing voices in the head and hallucinating, and hence could not control the "dangerous" situation he was in.

“There was nothing I could do. I was alone in a very dangerous situation. I tried to control myself and not show the world what was going on. I am very sorry, it’s the situation I found myself in.”

“Life is unfair. This illness is unfair. Anyone who doesn’t understand this illness will think that I’m just making this up,” he said. Speaking to a South African radio station, Talk Radio 702, he defended self saying that he was a "champion" of sign language and worked as a senior interpreter for the company SA interpreters.

“I have been a champion of sign language. I’ve interpreted in many big events… If I was interpreting wrong, why has it not been picked up before? Why is it an issue now?,” he said.

"I've interpreted in many press conferences, including the presidential conference," he said. "There was no one at all that said I interpreted wrong."

First Published: Thursday, December 19, 2013, 17:34

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