On Thursday morning, December 12, the interpreter who created an international scandal over his work at Nelson Mandela’s memorial on Tuesday revealed to the Associated Press that he is a schizophrenic. He went on to claim that during the event, he hallucinated which caused him to screw up his attempts at sign language interpretation.
Thamsanga Jantjie spoke with the AP this morning about his experience at Nelson Mandela’s memorial. Jantjiet said, “What happened that day, I see angels come to the stadium…I start realizing that the problem is here.”
“And the problem, I don’t know the attack of this problem, how will it comes. Sometimes I react violent on that place. Sometimes I will see things that chase me. I was in a very difficult position.”
“And remember those people, the president and everyone, they were armed, there was armed police around me. If I start panicking, I’ll start being a problem. I have to deal with this in a manner so that I mustn’t embarrass my country.”
The interpreter went on to admit that he has spent over a year in a mental institution in the past. He also issues an apology to those who were offended for his wild hand and arm motions. “I would like to tell everybody that if I’ve offended anyone, please, forgive me.”
“But what I was doing, I was doing what I believe is my calling. I was doing what I believe makes a difference.” According to Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities stated that Jantjie was mistakenly hired from SA Interpreters.
SA Interpreters is a company in Johannesburg and who’s owners have, according to Bogopane-Zulu “vanished into thin air.” She went on to state that authorities will be investigating how Jantjie was hired and vetted.
For his services at nelson Mandela’s memorial on Tuesday, Thamsanga Jantjie received approximately $85. Jantjie also claims that he has no memory of being at the event.
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