x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Mandela memorial interpreter: ‘I was hallucinating’

The man accused of faking sign interpretation next to world leaders at Nelson Mandela’s memorial tells a local newspaper that he was hallucinating and hearing voices.

India's President Pranab Mukherjee speaks at the podium as Thamsanqa Jantjie, a sign language interpreter, beside him. Jantjie says he is a qualified interpreter but was 'hallucinating' on stage.   Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuters
India's President Pranab Mukherjee speaks at the podium as Thamsanqa Jantjie, a sign language interpreter, beside him. Jantjie says he is a qualified interpreter but was 'hallucinating' on stage. Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuters

JOHANNESBURG // The man accused of faking sign interpretation next to world leaders at Nelson Mandela’s memorial told a local newspaper that he was hallucinating and hearing voices.

Thamsanqa Jantjie did describe his qualifications for being a sign language interpreter, but told The Star he works for an interpreting company that paid him $85 for interpreting Tuesday’s event.

He told Radio 702 today he’s receiving treatment for schizophrenia and had an episode while on stage.

Jantjie did not address allegations by sign language experts that he faked interpretation for the Mandela memorial attended by scores of world leaders and broadcast internationally.

“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,” the Star quoted him as saying.

* Associated Press