Interpreter for Mandela event: I was hallucinating

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by Alan Clendenning

Associated Press

Posted on December 12, 2013 at 5:48 AM

Updated Thursday, Dec 12 at 6:44 PM

JOHANNESBURG (AP) -- The man accused of faking sign interpretation next to world leaders at Nelson Mandela’s memorial has told The Associated Press that he has schizophrenia, had visions of angels coming into the stadium and was trying not to panic because there were “armed policemen around me.” Thamsanqa Jantjie also said he has been violent in the past.

Jantjie, who stood gesticulating three-feet (1 meter) from U.S. President Barack Obama and others who spoke at the ceremony that was broadcast around the world, insists he was doing proper sign-language interpretation of the speeches of world leaders for the deaf correctly. He also apologized Thursday for his performance that has received unanimous condemnation from numerous sign-language experts who said he had been merely signing gibberish.

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