Ancilla Julius
Cape Town - Not being able to hear did little to hamper matriculant Ancilla Julius, who came third in the country for sign language in the matric results released on Friday.

Julius, 21, who attended Dominican School for Deaf Children in Wynberg, was part of the first group of matriculants to pass sign language after it was included as an NSC subject for the first time last year.

Julius, who was born deaf and lives in Mitchells Plain with her grandmother, achieved 71% for sign language home language and spoke to Weekend Argus via text message.

“I was so shocked and it was like a dream, but it’s not a dream; it is reality and it touched my heart that I came in third place. I’m so proud of myself and of my achievement through the hardships of life. To be the first in a group of learners to pass sign language was something that has set a change in the lives of many coming after me,” she said.

The top two pupils were Maria Mabokodo Morgan from Sizwile School for the Deaf in Soweto and Thabile Busisiwe Qondani from Kwa Thintwa School for the Deaf in Durban.

Julius said the most difficult aspect of the subject was remembering the correct structure in sign language, and said her dream was to become an information technology teacher.

“I have been accepted at Belgium College for IT and business management and will be going to Pretoria to attend,” she said.

Julius was one of three pupils from Dominican School for Deaf Children to write the exam, the others being Thozi Kedama and Thandie Dinginto.

The school said in a statement that it was were proud of Julius and wished her well for the future, and that all three pupils exemplified what deaf people were capable of achieving.

Philip Cook, principal at De la Bat School for the Deaf in Worcester, was part of the task team that designed the sign language curriculum and implemented it last year.

He said the school had one matric pupil write the subject for their NSC last year, Andrea Stuurman.

“We piloted the curriculum and concluded it was a success before implementing it, and we’re proud that we had a student pass very well.”

Cook said the school took last year as a learning curve and would build on what they had learnt.

“Sign language has a different way of being assessed but shares many similarities with other home languages, with comprehension, poetry, short stories and grammar aspects.”

Three papers are written for the subject, as for other home languages.

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