‘With Sign Language, I am equal’

Alex Msitshana who is a deaf Board members with CBM South Africa MA as well as founder of Deaf Empowerment Firm (DEF) joins the Deaf Federation of South Africa (DeafSA) to campaign for having South African Sign Language (SASL) recognised as the 12th official language in South Africa.

Why campaign for South African Sign Language to become south Africa's 12th official language?

Alex says ‘SASL holds the key to us as Deaf people to enjoy our human rights, to providing access to communication and information, making accessibility possible. The Bill of Rights which forms Chapter 2 of the South African Constitution has no significant value to the Deaf community in the absence of SASL. Human rights for Deaf people are based on the recognition and respect for Deaf culture and identity. I am deaf, and I understand the importance of being able to access communication and the isolation of not understanding what is being talked about around me…’

On 1st September 2016 Alex and her colleagues at DEF joined the multitudes of people who marched in Gauteng, Pretoria to deliver a memorandum to the President’s office at the Union Buildings. Many more people around the country joined the march in their respective provinces.

The march enjoyed great support as South Africans came out in numbers to lend their support to this call. DeafSA issued a report informing us that Parliament will be considering the submissions made by DeafSA among others.


DEF celebrates the first Deaf Person gaining sustainable employment

DEF in its quest and mission to empower Deaf people through its programme of work placements, skills and enterprise development placed Mr. Sydney Sipho Nkosi  with Thaba Eco Hotel in Johannesburg. Sydney has been placed as a Maintenance Assistant and was chosen for the position due to his skills in Plumbing, Painting, Carpentry and Construction. Alex says ‘We at DEF are very proud of this placement as it serves as the breakthrough we have been looking for in getting employers in South Africa to come on board and give Deaf people an opportunity to live self-sustainable lives with dignity. This placement is a resounding affirmation that indeed DEAF PEOPLE CAN. We thank Thaba Eco Hotel for partnering with us in our quest to empower the Deaf!'

More reading

The International Week of the Deaf, observed annually during the last week in September, will be celebrated from 19 till 25 September 2016

International Week of the Deaf 2016