Talk Sign 2017 kicked off on Friday, the 21st of October, at The Pavilion Hotel on the Beachfront with 70 guests enjoying a breakfast that was generously sponsored by Ashok Sewnarain. The guests were entertained by Gugu Ntini who performed a poem in sign language and also taught the guests a few phrases in sign language, and by Darren Rajbal who danced for the audience (he is the winner of SA’s Got Talent and is completely Deaf). Guest speakers Norma Millar, whose parents are both Deaf, and Bianca Birdsey, whose three daughters are Deaf, enthralled the guests with their stories on what it is like living with family who are Deaf.
According to the President of the KZN Blind and Deaf Society, Justice Zak Yacoob, ‘’It is a human right of every person who is Deaf to be able to communicate – to understand others and to be understood’’.
‘’We all need to communicate with each other. Imagine how lonely it must be when you don’t understand what the people around you are saying and, no-one understands what you are trying to say? This is how people who are Deaf feel, around those who don’t understand South African Sign Language (SASL)’’, explains Justice Yacoob.
‘’We need to make Sign Language South Africa’s 12th official language, not only for people who are Deaf but for everyone’s benefit’’, he concludes.
Schools and corporates are encouraged to buy Talk Sign stickers for R10 each and wear them on Talk Sign Day which is Friday, 10th of March 2017.
‘’We are also encouraging people to do an activity on Talk Sign Day to show support for people who are Deaf.’’ says Shamila Surjoo, director of the KZN Blind and Deaf Society.
‘’Our staff, Deaf clients and Sign Language interpreters are available to do a twenty minute, interactive presentation at schools and businesses in the lead up to the Day. During this presentation, six phrases in keeping with the “Let’s Connect” theme will be taught in Sign Language – Let’s meet, Lets’ connect, Let’s do coffee, Let’s have fun, Friends for life and see you soon “, continues Shamila.
‘’As far as the Talk Sign Day activities are concerned, schools and business can be as creative as they like. For example, each learner can present something in Sign Language to the class and the corporates can distribute to the, ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ when communicating with someone who is Deaf, to all their staff members.’’ suggests Shamila.
Darren Rajbal who is a professional dancer, winner of SA’s Got Talent and is completely Deaf, is still amazed how people presume because someone is Deaf, they must lacking in intelligence.
‘’We are just as capable as everyone else, we simply speak a different language.’’ explains Darren. ‘’I wish more people would take the time to learn the language which the Deaf community speaks. It would help us to feel less isolated and lonely’’, adds Darren.
Darren has been fortunate enough to travel overseas with this dancing and believes that South Africa is behind when it comes to the opportunities available for people who are Deaf.
‘’I am very excited about the Talk Sign campaign as I believe that the awareness created and the funds raised will help people who are Deaf to reach their full potential. I was brave enough to start dancing and developed my talent but for many people who are Deaf, they are not given the opportunity or the confidence to try’’, concludes Darren.
To place an order for stickers to sell at school or work or to set up a presentation, please contact Alice Leah on 082 577 2110 or e-mail [email protected] or visit www.talksign.co.za for more information.