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Nelson Mandela memorial interpreter admitted to psychiatric hospital


The interpreter at Nelson Mandela's funeral, who was accused of making up sign language, has been admitted to a psychiatric hospital.

Thamsanqa Jantjie 'might have had a breakdown', his wife Siziwe said.

According to the BBC, sign language experts accused him of referring to 'prawns' and 'rocking horses' while translating eulogies at Mandela's memorial last week.

Jantjie said he suffered a sudden attack of schizophrenia.

Jantjie's wife took him to a psychiatric hospital near Johannesburg for a check-up on Tuesday, and he was admitted immediately.

During the memorial at Johannesburg's FNB stadium, Jantjie stood on the stage next to key speakers, including US President Barack Obama, South African President Jacob Zuma and Mandela's grandchildren, translating their eulogies, the report said.

Jantjie blamed his flawed interpretation on a schizophrenic episode, saying he had seen angels coming into the stadium, it added.

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First Published: Fri, December 20 2013. 10:41 IST