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article imageSouth African gibberish deaf-signer at Mandela memorial is found

By Marcus Hondro     Dec 12, 2013 in World
The man who stood beside world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and signed gibberish has been found and has apologized. Thamsanqa Jantjie also admits to a troubled past replete with mental problems.
On behalf of the South African government, Deputy Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu apologized to deaf persons around the world for Jantjie's bizarre performance at Nelson Mandela's memorial service and said a "mistake happened" in hiring him.
Sign-language gibberish at Mandela funeral
Jantjie's signs were not signs and his interpretation of what world leaders were saying has been described by sign-language experts as gibberish and not part of any sign language in the world. South Africa has been unable to determine how he was hired (the company that provided him has gone underground) but an investigation is underway. The man stood as little as one meter from world leaders.
Jantjie told the Associated Press he hallucinated while onstage and saw "angels." He also said that he believes he was making sense and was sorry if he offended anyone but that he was "doing what I believe is my calling, I was doing what I believe makes a difference."
He admitted to having issues around violence and said he suffers from schizophrenia. He said he was scheduled to go for a check-up on the very day of Mandela's service and because of the job (he was paid about $85) he did not go. Jantjie, who has worked for the government before, did not tell anyone he was missing an appointment, one that was to determine if new medications were working.
"What happened that day, I see angels come to the stadium," he told AP. "I start realizing that the problem is here. 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.
"I was in a very difficult position," he said "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."
Jantjie, who told CNN he's been doing the job for many years and is a "champion" of the work, also said he has no memory of the memorial service whatsoever.
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