News Africa

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Mandela interpreter taken to psychiatric hospital

Eleanor Steafel

Published 20/12/2013 | 02:30

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Thamsanqa Jantjie gesticulates at his home during an interview
Thamsanqa Jantjie gesticulates at his home during an interview

THE interpreter at Nelson Mandela's funeral who was accused of making up sign language has been admitted to a psychiatric hospital, it emerged yesterday.

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Thamsanqa Jantjie was taken to a psychiatric hospital near Johannesburg by his wife on Tuesday after she thought he "might have had a breakdown".

Experts accused Mr Jantjie of referring to "prawns" and "rocking horses" while translating eulogies into sign language at the funeral of the former South African president last week.

Mr Jantjie insisted afterwards that he was a qualified interpreter, but claimed he had suffered a sudden episode of schizophrenia at the memorial in Johannesburg's FNB stadium. He said last week he had been due to go for a check-up on the day of the memorial service, but had postponed it to be at the event.

But it seems the aftermath of his flawed interpretation at the service may have become too much for Mr Jantjie, as a standard check-up on Tuesday ended in the interpreter being admitted to the psychiatric unit.

Mrs Jantjie said: "The past few days have been hard. We have been supportive because he might have had a breakdown."

Experts said his sign language during speeches from speakers including US President Barack Obama was little more than "flapping his arms around". (©Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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