Fake Interpreter From Mandela Memorial Enters Psychiatric Hospital

He says he had a schizophrenic episode during the memorial.

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A man passing himself off as a sign language interpreter punches the air during a speech being given by India's President Pranab Mukherjee at a memorial service for late South African President Nelson Mandela at the FNB soccer stadium in Johannesburg. December 10, 2013.
Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuters

A man passing himself off as a sign language interpreter punches the air during a speech being given by India's President Pranab Mukherjee at a memorial service for late South African President Nelson Mandela at the FNB soccer stadium in Johannesburg. December 10, 2013.

The sign language interpreter who inspired international ire for using bogus signs while translating eulogies for Nelson Mandela reportedly checked into a psychiatric hospital on Tuesday night.

“The past few days have been hard,” interpreter Thamsanqa Jantjie’s wife Siziwe told Johannesburg’s Star Newspaper. “We have been supportive because he might have had a breakdown.”

Jantjie, who flailed his arms and signed words like “prawns” and “rocking horses” during eulogies from dignitaries, said that he had suffered a schizophrenic episode and saw angels coming into the stadium.

Although an interpreter from the Deaf Federation of South Africa said that Jantjie had been criticized for shoddy work in the past, the African National Congress (ANC) said it had used him before and was unaware of complaints or a history of illness.

41 comments
StephanieFeyne
StephanieFeyne

The media reported this one instance of an impostor who was “interpreting” for the funeral of Nelson Mandela. 


As a professional interpreter, I can attest that throughout America other impostors are doing the same thing daily: denying the signing Deaf community access to communication that is vital to their wellbeing.

Interpreters are hired for pivotal moments in the lives of Deaf people: in hospital emergency rooms, in criminal courts, in schools, in mandated mental health counseling settings, in ACS meetings (during which children are removed from their parents), etc. Frighteningly, many public institutions hire interpreters with no credentials. Or they may contract with agencies that hire non-professional self-declared signers, with no quality control. Case in point: A Deaf patient told me I was the first interpreter he understood – after 2 weeks of testing for cancer!

Without access to communication, Deaf people are denied their civil and human rights. The Deaf community deserves mandates for duly qualified interpreters so that only meaningful sign language interpretation will be accepted.

George Philip
George Philip

In Indian city of Coimbatore, picture of Morgan Freeman was mistakenly displayed in a banner instead of Nelson Mandela! Fake Interpreter is nothing!

Ken Flippo
Ken Flippo

One if the funniest news events of 2013. SNL couldn't have a skit any funnier!

Bobert Oshanahan
Bobert Oshanahan

As soon as people stop paying attention to this guy he's getting black bagged and taken to Guantanamo bay. did everyone forget that the company he worked for supposedly couldn't be found anymore? He's not just some sick idiot.

BSummers
BSummers

Was he aware that he has schizophrenia because if that is the case he must be sane enough to know that. 

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Tanynia Coote
Tanynia Coote

From completely disgracing himself and his country? Not to mention getting close to my President, he better hope he's crazy.

Olivia Adcock
Olivia Adcock

Time who cares about the man. So stop writing articles about this interpretor, who is also a murderer.

Gelson Silva
Gelson Silva

Until such a claim is summarily proven, we'll hold our questions. Is a tip.

Jeffrey Brian Ward
Jeffrey Brian Ward

There were no previous charges for "fake signing", so they figured one was just as good as another LOL.

Heidi So
Heidi So

He was standing right next to all the world leaders.... he could be a assassins !

Tony Borja
Tony Borja

Hope he has Obamacare, that sounds expensive!

Jazz Mc
Jazz Mc

Lol he would have been better of saying he had a booger on his hand and was trying to shake it off

Thulani Mzimela
Thulani Mzimela

He is a clever man, his dress code can never be of a mad person, its only a gimmick to escape prosecution...think of R1, 5 million fraud, illegaly practicing as a sangoma, murder, and attempted murder...he has to face the wrath of the law, prison has a lot of the infirm and dissabled person...

Tony Bruan
Tony Bruan

The only breakdown was among the security people at the mass memorial !!!

William KD
William KD

More like he is breaking !!!!...lol

William KD
William KD

Break down of wut?...being fake?

Lisa Kindel
Lisa Kindel

It was not the interpreter's fault ... but those who hired him and failed to get his full background.

Donald Burkett
Donald Burkett

What would we do without you pointing that out for us. Thanks so much.

Marlon Smith
Marlon Smith

Lowering my head for this ludacris statement by the man's family. Supposedly this man is for real a mentally unstable person, so the question is: How did this man pass a security system not seen in ages? Let alone be amongst the world's elite leaders? Oh wow, that was security management of the highest calibre.... What an embarrassment, wow....

Headley White
Headley White

Someone probably has threatened his life at this point.

Johnathan Hardcastle
Johnathan Hardcastle

There is so much nonsense going on in this world and none of it makes any sense. Let's focus on real issues for a change.

Irene Shaw
Irene Shaw

I'm sorry but I still have no sympathy for him...

AlexCotman
AlexCotman

OH NO! Obtuse, Acute, and Right Angles are attacking the stadium! 


Pretty sure you meant "angels."