y1WlEjNAYV3-K1WpS3N1_iK3Azo TaJuLa's Blog: Sign Language Interpreter At Mandela Memorial Says "He Had Schizophrenia Attack"

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Sign Language Interpreter At Mandela Memorial Says "He Had Schizophrenia Attack"

The sign language interpreter accused of using fake hand signals at Nelson Mandela's memorial has said he suffered a schizophrenic episode. Thamsanqa Jantjie, 34, told South African media he "started hearing voices" and began hallucinating. Deaf viewers at Tuesday's memorial service complained he was a fraud. Mr Jantjie said he worked for a company called SA Interpreters, where he is a senior interpreter. During the memorial, he was employed to stand on the stage next to key speakers such as US President Barack Obama and Mr Mandela's grandchildren, translating their eulogies.
His performance was watched on television by millions of people worldwide. But he said that during the event, he lost concentration because of voices in his head. "There was nothing I could do. I was alone in a very dangerous situation," Mr Jantjie told Johannesburg's Star newspaper."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." But in a subsequent radio interview, he said he was happy with his performance. "I've interpreted in many big events," he told Talk Radio 702. "I think I've been a champion of sign language." The owners of the firm which supplied a "fake" sign language interpreter to the Mandela memorial event have vanished, a South African minister has said. Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu apologised to the deaf community for the poor quality of interpretation given by Thamsanqa Dyantyi from SA Interpreters. "He is Xhosa speaking. The English was a bit too much for him," she said.
BBC News.

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