KZN’s sign language achiever aiming high
DURBAN - KwaZulu-Natal’s sign language top matric achiever from KwaThintwa School for the Deaf, in Cato Ridge, says she dreams of changing her family’s life and creating more opportunities for deaf people.
Sinoyolo Ngubane was awarded for being the top learner in Sign Language in the province and also was placed second nationally for the subject. Sign Language was introduced as a matric subject in 2018.
Sinoyolo from KwaMnyandu, in Loskop outside Pietermaritzburg, described her matric year as difficult as she found it hard to study at home alone, without the help of a teacher.
“It was not easy at all. I had the worse year as it was filled with a lot of stress and I got ill a lot. I studied for long hours just so I can pass my matric,” she said.
She got emotional as she reflected on some of the challenges during last year.
“I come from a very poor background. I struggled for small things like data and had no one who could assist me. I’m very happy and never imagined this moment and making my mother this proud,” said an emotional Ngubane.
She said that she was still waiting for a response from the universities she had applied to.
Ngubane added that it was saddening that people with hearing disabilities still find themselves left behind and she wanted to educate people about sign language so that the barriers to opportunities could be removed.
Nonhlanhla Ngubane, Sinoyolo’s mother, said that she was very proud of her daughter’s achievement.
“She used to cry a lot whenever she was explaining how hard it is (to study) and that used to hurt me. However, I did not want her to give up, and I kept motivating her and made her aware that this is the only way to a better life,” said Nonhlanhla.
Over the past ten years, the KwaThintwa School for the Deaf has maintained a 100% matric pass rate.
The school’s principal, Dr Mavis Naidoo, attributed the success of the school to the hard work of the pupils and the dedication of the teachers.
Naidoo said the lockdown due to the pandemic was especially tough for deaf pupils.
She said that teachers worked around the clock with the sign language teachers staying behind and working weekends to assist the pupils.
Naidoo said the efforts had to be doubled during the lockdown to maintain the 100% pass rate.
“The fact that we have been able to achieve 100% proves that the deaf can learn, achieve, and can do everything that their hearing counterparts can do. We have no doubt that our children can achieve,” said Naidoo.