Fake Mandela memorial sign language interpreter hospitalised

Johannesburg, Dec 19 : The sign language interpreter, who grabbed headlines across the world for allegedly using a fake sign language at the Nelson Mandela memorial last week, has been admitted to a hospital in South Africa.

Siziwe Jantjie took her husband Thamsanqa Jantjie to the Sterkfontein Hospital Tuesday at Krugersdorp in the Gauteng province of South Africa for a check-up and doctors suggested that he be admitted immediately, the Independent Online reported Thursday.

"The past few days have been hard. We have been supportive because he might have had a breakdown," Siziwe said.

Jantjie had introduced words like "prawns" and "rocking horse" into some of the speeches.

Jantjie, in an explanation said he had suffered a schizophrenic episode in which he had "seen angels and heard voices".

In an interview with South Africa's Talk Radio 702 last week, Jantjie said he has been receiving treatment for this disorder.

At the same time, he questioned why nobody picked up that he was faking while he was interpreting. Jantjie's interpreting became the subject of derision across the world.

Disabled People SA (DPSA), a non-governmental organisation, last week expressed outrage that Jantjie was allowed to make a mockery of disabled people during one of the country's most important events.

South African Minister of Arts and Culture Paul Mashatile has apologised to the deaf community for the performance of the sign language interpreter at the memorial service to honour former president Nelson Mandela.

"We sincerely apologise to the deaf community and to all South Africans for any offence that may have been suffered," Mashatile said last week.

--IANS (Posted on 19-12-2013)

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