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Turns out the sign language interpreter who was found to be faking gestures at Nelson Mandela’s memorial isn’t just suffering from schizophrenia.

Thamsanqa Jantjie also battled some demons in his past that resulted in him being accused of murder in 2003 and rape in 1994.

According to TIME:

Citing court documents, the Johannesburg-based news station eNCA reports that Jantjie was charged with murder, attempted murder and kidnapping in 2003. He also faced rape and theft charges in 1994, housebreaking charges in 1997, and malicious damage to property charges in 1998, according to eNCA. Jantjie was acquitted on the rape charge, eNCA reports,  but many of the other charges against him were dropped, it’s unclear if he ever served time in prison, and the station reports the court file in one case is “mysteriously empty.” Jantjie hasn’t commented on the 2003 case.

Yesterday, the interpreter came forward to talk about his struggle with schizophrenic episodes, one of which happened during the memorial and, according to him, caused him to fake signs to control his hallucinations.

“There was nothing I could do. I was alone in a very dangerous situation. I tried to control myself and not show the world what was going on. I am very sorry, it’s the situation I found myself in,” he said.

But the question remains. How could someone with such a storied past in mental issues and run-ins with the law get on stage with world leaders at the former South African president’s memorial?

The South African government is investigating, and one official said Thursday that the company through which he was hired has “vanished into thin air.”

We’ll keep you updated on the latest.


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