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Mandela Funeral Bogus Sign Language Interpreter Pulled Out of Mental Institution to Film Promo for Israeli App (VIDEO)

May 7, 2014 7:38 am 8 comments

Thamsanqa Jantjie in the promo for LiveLens. Photo: Screenshot.

The phony sign language interpreter who gained worldwide attention for his work at Nelson Mandela’s funeral has resurfaced in a promotional video ad for an Israeli mobile application.

Thamsanqa Jantjie was institutionalized after claiming to suffer from schizophrenia after moving his hands in random gestures as heads of state and religious leaders spoke at Mandela’s memorial service. He was allegedly pulled out of his asylum to film the ad for LiveLens, which allows easy live streaming on Facebook and through the app.

In the clip, which shows Jantjie speaking and then interpreting his own comments in fake sign language, he apologizes for the incident that took place at Mandela’s funeral, saying, “I am really, really sorry for what happened.”

“Now I make it up to the whole world,” he says, interpreting the comment in sign language as, “Now I do campaign for money.”

He then introduces the company as “an an app that allows you to broadcast live to your friends and followers.”

“Remember the most interesting things happen live,” he adds in the bizarre footage.

Max Bluvband, CEO of LiveLens, said, “We are thrilled to be bringing the very enthusiastic Thamsanqua onto our team – so people realize that everything and anything can be filmed live.”

Bluvband told The Algemeiner that his company was looking for a spokesperson “that relates to live shows and is known all over the world.”

“Our main objective is to bring awareness to live streaming and to do it in an amusing way with someone that everyone knows,” he said.

Explaining how he connected with Jantjie, Bluvband credited his Israeli tenacity.

“Israelis are very determined people,” he said. “We learn it from the nature of living here, when we strive to do something we try to do it in the best way, the most determined way.”

In an interview with The Algemeiner, Jantjie credited the leaders at LiveLens, including Bluvband and Head of Marketing Sefi Shaked, with helping turn his life around.

“Let me tell you, number one, for the first time they called me and for the first time they gave me an opportunity that it has sustained my life, it has changed my life,” he said. “Right now… I am with my kids, I take them out, I feel like a father. Right now I am with my wife, I can buy something for my wife. They made me a husband, they made me a father, they made me a neighbor, people like them… God could keep them to assist people like us who are suffering, I was poor but at least now I have got something.”

LiveLens has been testing its product for a number of months and has just released it to the public.

The company said in a statement that it recently secured $2 million in funding and that it was founded on the realization that there was no mobile application or software on the market that allowed easy live streaming and sharing that integrates to existing social media platforms.

Watch the wacky LiveLens promo below:


  • jaime xmarrano

    Great idea in fact a brilliant idea…It gives this guy a new lease on life…

  • Stan the Man

    His performance has only been rivalled by the likes of Chemical Ali during the Gulf War – specifically the scene where he denied the Marines where anywhere near Bagdad – then the shooting started.

  • They made the desert bloom. Making the best of a bad situation. Genius people.

  • I express my outrage and disappointment that Livelens would think it appropriate to hire and portray any individual who has become synonymous with mockery of sign language interpreting based on his extremely offensive actions at the funeral of Nelson Mandela. Livelens has obviously chosen to use Thamsanqa Jantjie, a proven imposter, in an effort to draw attention to its product. If there ever was an occasion to shun and boycott a company and its products on the basis of its offensive conduct, this is it. I strongly urge Livelens to immediately remove this offending commercial. You need to be educated on respecting all cultures including that of the signing community.

    • Stan the Man

      It was not his fault but the fault of those that HIRED him for the event. He applied his skills to the best of his ability.
      He also should be allowed to make a living.
      G-d bless those that can see his potential – and his performance at the funeral was the biggest joke of the century.
      Great chioce.



  • Only Israelis! Wonderful! Guys, you gave me a good laugh.
    G-D Bless you.

  • E Pluribus Wombat

    He IS the most interesting man in the world.

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