President Cyril Ramaphosa, and sign language interpreter Andiswa Gebashe, speaking during a national address from the Union Buildings. Picture: GCIS
President Cyril Ramaphosa, and sign language interpreter Andiswa Gebashe, speaking during a national address from the Union Buildings. Picture: GCIS

Accept South African Sign Language as deaf people’s mother tongue - DeafSA

By Shakirah Thebus Time of article published Sep 15, 2020

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Cape Town - During a webinar hosted by DeafSA, Cultural Affairs and Sport the MEC Anroux Marais said the department was committed to promoting the use of South African Sign Language (SASL) and that this would be reaffirmed and implemented through the Western Cape Language Committee (WCLC).

The aim of the webinar was to create awareness of SASL during the Month of Deaf People (September) with discussions on the recognition of SASL as an official language.

Marais said the purpose of the webinar was to highlight the WCLC and its role in promoting SASL.

Established in 1998, the WCLC consists of 11 members and has a mandate of ensuring the equal status of the three official languages of the province (Afrikaans, English and isiXhosa), promoting multiculturalism, and actively promoting the development of previously marginalised and indigenous languages including SASL.

“The Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport has always been committed to promoting the use of the three official languages of the Western Cape, as well as promoting SASL, as part of its mandate,” said Marais.

“The department is the custodian of the Western Cape Language Policy, which makes special provision for the need for creating awareness around the needs of the hearing impaired.”

DeafSA provincial director Jabaar Cassiem Mohamed said more departments and municipalities should include SASL interpreters and should continue working with the deaf community in the provincial government.

On why SASL should be made an official language, Mohamed said: “So that we the deaf can have full access in many ways, in public service such as hospital, job employment, education such as university or college to provide SASL interpreters.

“Deaf people’s right is SASL as their mother tongue to be accepted and be inclusive when providing service in South Africa.”

Cape Argus

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