Today 12 December
By Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo and Ed Cropley JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A South African sign language interpreter accused of gesticulating gibberish during a memorial to Nelson Mandela defended his "champion" performance on Thursday, but said he may have suffered a schizophrenic episode while on stage. The interpreter, identified as 34-year-old Thamsanqa Jantjie, told Johannesburg's Star newspaper he started hearing voices in his head and hallucinating, resulting in gestures that made no sense to outraged deaf people around the world. Millions of TV viewers saw Jantjie interpreting on Tuesday at the Mandela memorial attended by leaders from around the world, but South Africa's leading deaf association on Wednesday denounced him as a fake, saying he was inventing signs. I think that I've been a champion of sign language," he told Talk Radio 702.
The sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela's funeral has said a schizophrenic episode was to blame for accusations that he was an imposter who gesticulated nonsense during the entire service. Thamasanqa Jantjie was branded as a scurrilous fake after members of South Africa's deaf community said his signing at Tuesday's memorial ceremony had amounted to nothing more than "flapping his arms around." Jantjie's efforts at the memorial service, during which he translated eulogies by US President Barack Obama among others, triggered outrage in the deaf community and prompted a government investigation. Attended by nearly 100 sitting and former heads of state or government, the speeches at Mandela's memorial were supposed to be interpreted into sign language for deaf viewers.
When Ethiopia started repatriating its citizens living illegally in Saudi Arabia last month, 30,000 people were expected to return. It's a very big challenge returning over 120,000 people in less than a month... It's an emergency," said Sharon Dimanche of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which is assisting the government-led repatriation programme. Ethiopia expects 150,000 to return, but has been repeatedly forced to scale up its predictions as the returnees continue to flood back. Ethiopia started repatriating its citizens in November after a seven-month amnesty period for undocumented immigrants expired.
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — As one world leader after another paid homage to Nelson Mandela at a memorial service, the man standing at arm's length from them appeared to interpret their words in sign language. But advocates for the deaf say he was a faker.
PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — Black and white, old and young, South Africans by the thousands paid final tribute Wednesday to their beloved Nelson Mandela. In silence or murmuring, they filed past the coffin. Some glanced back, as if clinging to the sight, a moment in history.
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