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Nelson Mandela Sign Language Interpreter Thamsanqa Jantjie Resurfaces In Disturbing Ad For Video Sharing App

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The sign-language interpreter at the Nelson Mandela memorial event has resurfaced in a disturbing advert for a video-sharing app.

Thamsanqa Jantjie, who has previously claimed he suffers from schizophrenia, stars in the clip for Tel-Aviv-based firm LiveLens.

The ad, which at time of press had been viewed more than 10,000 times on YouTube, sees him introduce himself as: “Hi, I’m Thamsanqa Jantjie from Nelson Mandela’s funeral.

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Thamsanqa Jantjie appears in the new ad for video-sharing app LiveLens

“Believe me, I’m a real professional sign language interpreter.

“I’m really sorry for what happened. Now I want to make it up to the whole world.”

A peculiar montage follows with Jantjie signing at a podium lined with hundred-dollar bills, and topless, riding backwards on a horse, while a female voice intones: “Me famous celebrity... Now I do campaign for money. Introducing LiveLens.

“An app that allows you to broadcast live to your friends and your followers. Remember, the most interesting things happen live.”

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It features Jantjie topless, sitting backwards on a horse...

At this point Jantjie appears to be decapitated, before returning to the screen – intact – and removing his jacket to dance by the firm’s logo.

Uncomfortably, a spokesman for LiveLens tells the New York Daily News the firm hired a South African journalist to pose as a relative in order to secure Jantjie’s release from a psychiatric institution for a day in order to film the ad in February.

He added Jantjie was later discharged and has returned to his family.

By way of explanation, Max Bluvband of LiveLens tells Huffington Post UK: "Since LiveLens is an app that allows you easily to stream your 'life moments' live to all your friends and followers simultaneously from your mobile, we were seeking someone who was the worst presenter ever of live shows.

"Clearly, Thamsanqa Jantjie is answering this criteria. People stop to watch car crashes.

"After seeing him star in leading TV shows like SNL, (he was spoofed on the Saturday Night Live show by actor Kenan Thompson) we’ve decided to hire him for LiveLens's first awareness campaign.

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...and appearing to be decapitated while he stands at a podium

"This is the first of a number of endorsers we have lined up. As we will disrupt the app space, none was better than Mr Jantjie to raise awareness of LiveLens app for live social streaming."

Jantjie was thrust into the spotlight after deaf people at Mandela’s funeral in December last year revealed he had repeatedly signed “nonsense” during the four-hour ceremony.

Experts pointed out the 34-year-old continuously mimed the words “prawn” and “rocking horse”.

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The ad ends with Jantjie removing his jacket and dancing energetically

Jantjie explained his behaviour by saying he was schizophrenic and had started to hear voices as he attempted to interpret speeches by President Barack Obama and other heads of state.

He said: "There was nothing I could do. I was alone in a very dangerous situation. 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."

It was also reported Jantjie had previously been charged with murder, rape, breaking and entering, malicious damage to property, attempted murder and kidnapping.

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Jantjie signed alongside President Barack Obama among other heads of state at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela

It is thought many of the charges against him, the earliest of which dates back to 1994, were dropped as he was deemed unfit to stand trial.

The Associated Press reports Jantjie was institutionalised for around a year, after which he began work doing sign language interpretation for the African National Congress Party.

He also provided his services at a South African President Jacob Zuma speech in 2012. Last year, footage re-emerged of Jantjie signing as Zuma sings anti-apartheid song 'Kill the Boer'.

Jantjie can be seen standing next to the President repeatedly making a machine gun motion and a 'shimmy-style' dance move.

He also copies the president exactly as he makes a hand gesture at the start of the speech, and stands motionless in parts while Zuma is talking.

More information about schizophrenia here.

Nelson Mandela memorial at the FNB Stadium in Soweto
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