Thamsanqa Jantjie (pictured), who made headlines around the globe after his signing snafu at Nelson Mandela‘s memorial in South Africa last year, left folks wondering whether he was crazy or unstable, and those sentiments were dead-on after all. At the time, Jantjie stood alongside world leaders, such as PresidentBarack Obama, flapping his hands in meaningless gestures, making a mockery of signing for the deaf. Now Jantjie admits that he was put in a mental institution after the signing debacle, reports the New York Post’s Page Six.
According to reports, Jantjie explained via phone about the outlandish spectacle he had made of himself at Mandela’s service, “I was in the hospital but I am positively out now, I feel better than ever. On that day I was sick, due to the hours that I had been working, 14 hours interpreting.”
Jantjie, who is referred to as the fake deaf interpreter, signed such nonsensical words as “prawns” and “rocking horses” rather than interpreting what notable speakers were actually saying at the service. Jantjie also admitted that he began to hear voices and see hallucinations while he was on stage at the memorial.
Now Jantjie claims he is on a mission to help people with disabilities, telling Page Six, “It was a blessing in disguise. Sign language was not recognized in my country, and now it is. The president has introduced sign language as an official language. Why should I be worried about it or punish myself? I did not hear any complaints from the world leaders. I feel very happy, because it was a chance to help people with disabilities, I brought a change in my country.”
Jantjie’s ill-gotten fame has now landed him a sweet gig that is paying off big time. He is now the pitchman for video-sharing app LiveLens, a system that allows users to stream live videos. Why did the company chose Jantjie as their “solid and forthright” image to sell the app?
According to the CEO of LiveLens, Max Bluvhand, Jantjie was brought into the mix because “He’s the guy that did the worst live show ever. But at the end of the day, he is a good guy,” he told Page Six.