Thamsanqa Jantjie, the man accused of faking a knowledge of sign language during Nelson Mandela’s memorial, has been admitted to a psychiatric facility following the backlash he received.
Experts say Jantjie wasn’t saying anything at all with his hand gestures during the memorial, and he admitted later that although he does know how to sign, his ability to do so was compromised because he was having a schizophrenic episode that caused him to see angels streaming into the stadium.
“There was nothing I could do. I was alone in a very dangerous situation,” Jantjie said. “I tried to control myself and not show the world what was going on. I am very sorry, it’s the situation I found myself in…life is unfair. This illness is unfair. Anyone who doesn’t understand this illness will think that I’m just making this up,” he said.
Siziwe Jantjie, his wife, says she took her husband for a checkup on Tuesday (an appointment originally scheduled for the day of the memorial), and his doctors admitted him right away.
“The past few days have been hard. We have been supportive because he might have had a breakdown,” she was quoted as saying in The Star.
In the past week, several investigations into Jantjie’s past have turned up police records, including files for murder, rape, and kidnapping charges. The files were curiously incomplete, however, and it’s not clear if he did jail time due to his mental illness.
Jantjie was allegedly hired for the memorial by a company called SA Interpreters, but a search for them at their given address only turned up a different company.
Image via Wikimedia Commons