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Mandela memorial interpreter blames schizophrenia for sign language farce


The sign language interpreter accused of faking his way through Nelson Mandelas memorial service has defended his record, blaming the incident on a schizophrenic episode he suffered during Tuesdays event. The interpreter, Thamsanqa Jantjie, told Johannesburgs Star newspaper today that he started hallucinating and hearing voices on stage, causing him to mime in ways that deaf viewers and sign language experts described as incomprehensible. Bruno Druchen, the director of the South Africas Deaf Federation, earlier this week told the Associated Press that Jantjie was literally flapping his arms around on stage, as he interpreted speeches delivered by President Barack Obama, South African President Jacob Zuma, and other world leaders.

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