The ‘fake’ interpreter who caused an uproar during the Nelson Mandela memorial service is claiming that he was hallucinating during the event.
Thamsanqua Jantjie, who says he’s schizophrenic, told AP that he realized that something was wrong when he suddenly started seeing ‘angels’ while standing beside world leaders in the ceremony.
‘What happened that day, I see angels come to the stadium… I start realizing that the problem is here,’ he said. ‘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.’
When asked about how violent, he replied, ‘a lot,’ adding that he had been hospitalized before for more than one year. He also says he was supposed to get a regular six-month checkup on that day
He also claims that SA Interpreters – the company who hired him for $85 – was aware that he was schizophrenic, but he admits he did not tell them that he was due for checkup that day.
Many sign-language experts and deaf citizens who saw Jantije gesticulating on TV had immediately pronounced him a ‘fake’ and an ‘insult’ to the memory of the late icon.
Jantije – who says he is a trained sign language interpreter – has apologized, saying he thought he did his job well.
‘I would like to tell everybody that if I’ve offended anyone, please, forgive me,’ he said. ‘ 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.’
Meanwhile, the company that hired him has ‘vanished’, reports AP.