Pretoria - The Instagram user who created an account depicting the scenes of the Oscar Pistorius murder trial with a customised Lego figurine has identified himself as 29-year-old Mando Tejeda from Chicago, US.
After the Pretoria News reported on the account about “a little Lego who ridiculously resembles the one & only Oscar Pistorius” on Monday, its following has more than doubled.
“I had to disable Instagram notifications, it killed my iPhone battery,” Tejeda told the Pretoria News in an interview on Monday.
Tejeda, who identifies himself in the account information as “a fan, runner & Lego junkie”, said it was not his intention “to rub Pistorius up the wrong way”.
“If Pistorius ever found out about the account and wanted it closed, I would respectfully do so.
“But I hope he sees it as others have, as a different type of reporting through social media that tries to touch on a very difficult subject and real world event.”
Tedeja is not a South African citizen, but says he worked here for three years as a volunteer at a wildlife sanctuary.
He has not met Pistorius.
The figurine is not an original Lego piece.
“I obtained the figurine during the 2012 Olympics from a small family-operated website that makes custom figures if you provide the details.”
Tejeda has more than 1 500 followers, and daily posts pictures related to the murder trial.
The latest picture, posted on Monday, shows the Lego Pistorius outside the Lego courtroom, escorted by Lego police for the start of the second week of his trial.
There were many accounts similar to the Instagram account he started on November 16, Tedeja said.
“I had the Oscar figurine, so I decided to use it. It started as a fun, satirical, parody-type page, but changed as the court date approached into what it is now.”
One comment on Monday’s post reads: “This is hilarious.” Other comments on earlier pictures commend Tejeda’s depiction of the trial in a light-hearted, humorous way.
“Some have viewed this Instagram (account) as wrong,” Tejeda said.
“I initially began this as a ‘photo-a-day’ parody concept, but now I’ve obviously chosen to mimic the real world for the most part.”
Although some people thought it was “obscene, it’s not so different from many media outlets who have recreated 3D video models of the murder scene and played out multiple scenarios”.
Tejeda said he did not hide that he was an admirer of Pistorius’s athletic achievements.
“When I lived in South Africa I started running after learning about him. I’m thankful for the motivation. I have no hero complex. I realise Pistorius is just a man with his own flaws, but I was not there that terrible night.”
He had given up his passion for Lego, but it made a “big comeback” because of his six-year-old son, Tejeda said.
“I’ve always loved Lego. So, yes, I’d say I’m a Lego fanatic.”
Tejeda has not decided how long he will run the account, and says this depends on the length and outcome of the trial.
“I don’t know yet. It also depends if my son destroys the buildings and wants to build something else,” he joked.
Despite the mixed response to the social media account, Tejeda said: “It keeps people talking about current events. If it solicits such a strong emotion that you find it distasteful, the ‘Block’ button is a simple click away.”
The Pretoria News has notified Pistorius’s media manager, Anneliese Burgess, about the account.