[QODLink]
Africa

Mandela signer admitted to mental clinic

Sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela's memorial, accused of making up gestures, admitted to psychiatric hospital.

Last updated: 19 Dec 2013 12:07
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Thamsanqa Jantjie said he had seen angels at Mandela's memorial that made him lose concentration [AFP]

The sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela's memorial, who said he suffered a schizophrenic episode during the service after being labelled a fraud, has been admitted to a psychiatric hospital, South African media reported.

Thamsanqa Jantjie sparked outrage with his performance at last week's event, with sign language experts saying his translations of the eulogies, including those by US President Barack Obama and Mandela's grandchildren, amounted to little more than "flapping his arms around" and "just making funny gestures".

On Thursday the Star newspaper said Jantjie's wife Siziwe had taken her husband for a check-up at a psychiatric hospital near Johannesburg on Tuesday, which suggested he be admitted immediately.

"The past few days have been hard. We have been supportive because he might have had a breakdown," she was quoted as saying.

Jantjie had been scheduled for a check-up at the Sterkfontein Psychiatric Hospital in Krugersdorp, west of Johannesburg, on December 10.

But the appointment was moved after he was offered the job to sign at the memorial which took place the same day, the newspaper reported.

Jantjie has claimed that he is a qualified signer but that his performance was down to a sudden attack of schizophrenia, for which he takes medication.

"I saw angels falling on the stadium. I heard voices and lost concentration," he has said.

Local media have since reported that he was part of a mob that burnt two people to death 10 years ago, allegations he has denied, and that he had also faced rape, kidnapping and theft charges.

Mandela's memorial was attended by nearly 100 sitting and former heads of state or government. The government apologised to the deaf community following the scandal.

In recent media interviews, Jantjie has come across as incoherent.

In his home province of Free State, local media have accused Jantjie of impersonating a lawyer and a traditional healer, though he has not commented on those claims.

317

Source:
Al Jazeera
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.