Bogus South African Sign Language Interpreter Stars in Ad for Israeli App

Image: getty images

The bogus sign language interpreter whose meaningless gestures during Nelson Mandela’s memorial service in December made international headlines is about to get his second 15 minutes of fame – as the star of a viral ad campaign for a Tel Aviv-based live-streaming app called LiveLens.

“We needed something surprising,” the New York Daily News quoted Sefi Shaked of LiveLens as saying. “We wanted to choose a presenter who is the worst presenter for a live app possible; you know, the person who did the worst screw-up on live TV – ever.”

The interpreter, Thamsanqa Jantjie, who has said he suffered a schizophrenic episode during the memorial, pokes fun at himself in the quirky YouTube video posted Tuesday by LiveLens. Tha application, which made Mashable’s recent list of “5 Can’t-Miss Apps,” lets users broadcast live video of themselves on their social media pages and charge people to watch them.

Jantjie is shown in the video making hand gestures that a female voiceover interprets as “I speak sign language – not.” At various points, he is shown on a horse and with his head exploding in a cartoon fashion.

He is also incorrectly interpreted by the female voiceover. As Jantjie says in the ad that he’s sorry for what happened and wants to make it up to the whole world, the voiceover says: “Me famous celebrity… Now I do campaign for money.”

After Mandela’s memorial service, where Jantjie gesticulated just a few feet from U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders, he told reporters he was having visions of angels coming into the stadium.

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