South Africa is unique for many reasons, but diversity is arguably its most exceptional attribute. Of course, with that widespread cultural diversity comes a number of indigenous languages.
As it stands, there are 11 official South African languages, and Section 6 of the Constitution states that everyone has the right to use the language and participate in the cultural life of his or her choice
However, for quite some time, the deaf community has been overlooked, but that could change soon. Parliament’s Constitutional Review Committee has recommended that sign language become the country’s 12th official language.
Unathi talks to CODA [Child of Deaf a Adult] and Sign Language Interpreter Andiswa Gebashe on Midday Joy.
The Parliamentary Constitutional Review Committee is considering recognizing South African Sign Language as the 12th official language.
Deputy minister in the Presidency Department of Women Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Prof Hlengiwe Mkhize, said parliament was considering amending Section 30 of the Constitution and the National Official Languages.
“I want to emphasise that South African Sign Language is a right and not a privilege, and is a language of the first line of commutation for deaf people. The strengthening of inter-sectoral collaboration between the government and the deaf community will make South Africa one of the countries that provide for deaf people’s communication mode in their own local language,” the deputy minister said.