Nelson Mandela interpreter accused of rape and murder

The story of the fake sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service continues to grab column inches, which is a shame because the world is still mourning Mandela’s passing. Yesterday, the interpreter Thamsanqa Jantjie told press that he was “hallucinating” during the ceremony which is why the signs he was given out during speeches by Barack Obama and other international leaders didn’t conform to any international sign language known to man.

Aside from being no good at sign language, we’ve now found out that the interpreter’s been charged with crimes like rape, murder, kidnapping and theft in the past. The reports from South Africa’s eNCA have shed a dark light on the otherwise comic story that broke on Tuesday.

The reports show that Jantjie faced rape charges in 1994, theft charges in 1995 and was charged with housebreaking in 1997. The catalogue of crimes escalated in 1998 when he was charged with murder and attempted murder. Kidnapping was added to his criminal record five years later in 2003. Most of the charges were dropped thanks to authorities ruling that Jantjie was mentally unfit to stand trial. If that’s the case, we’re not sure why ANC official thought he would be fit to be involved with such a high profile event as the Nelson Mandela Memorial at FNA stadium.

We’re not sure if he ever spent time in jail but we’ve learnt that he was convicted on charges of theft in 1995. His history only gets murkier and more mysterious when you read that eNCA found that there were no contents inside the court file for his 2003 murder case.

We wish that we could still be laughing about the idiocy of the event rather than worrying how someone so dubious was involved in an official capacity at such an important and international seen event as Nelson Mandela’s memorial service in Soweto.

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