Mentally Ill Mandela Interpreter Taken Out of Hospital for Viral Video "Joke"

By Gary Cutlack on at

The man who attempted to wing the skill of sign language at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service has been turned into a sad attempt at winning viral internet fame, with a social video site hiring Thamsanqa Jantjie to badly translate his own words for an advert.

The ad seeks to ironically celebrate the failings of a man who confessed to struggling from mental illness. Which is funny, in a Jeremy Clarkson kind of way. Speaking of the decision to employ Mr Jantjie, LiveLens CEO told NBC News that: "At the end of the day, a schizophrenic guy got paid and did a nice campaign ... We see it as sort of a sad story with a happy ending."

According to NBC, Jantjie has been in a psychiatric hospital since December, and generously agreed to take a few hours out from being mentally ill to record the advert in February.

"Now he can have the closure and earn some money from it. It’s morally right," claimed LiveLens marketing man Sefi Shaked.

An explanation that's not going down well online, where a flurry of one-star reviews from users not impressed by the company's mockery of Mandela and the deaf are downgrading the company's Android app feedback score. [YouTube via ITV]