DeafSA. Presentation to the Joint Constitutional Review Committee. Introduction. DeafSA represents about one (1) million Deaf people in South Africa Recognised internationally by inter alia the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) Founded in 1929
Presentation to the
Joint Constitutional Review Committee
“To promote the interests of the Deaf and hard of hearing effectively on a national level in Southern Africa.”
To give effect to one of DeafSA’s objectives as listed in our constitution, which is:
To pro-actively facilitate and successfully lobby for the acceptance, recognition, development, utilisation of resources/interpreter service of South African Sign Language, as a medium of communication with Deaf persons, as the 12th official language.
DeafSA regards this objective as a key towards effectively promoting all other interests of Deaf people
DeafSA has thus far contributed towards the following legislation and codes of good practice:
“As long as there are Deaf people, there will be Sign Language.”
“Often individuals and groups are treated unjustly and suppressed by means of language. People who are deprived of linguistic human rights may thereby be prevented from enjoying other human rights, including fair political representation, a fair trial, access to education, access to information and freedom of speech, and maintenance of their cultural heritage”. Overcoming Linguistic Discrimination, ed. Tove Skutnabb-Kangas and Robert Phillipson (Berlin 1995).
“Sign Language is a real language, equivalent in status to any other language. Deaf persons can sign about any topic, concrete or abstract as economically, as effectively, as rapidly and as grammatically as hearing people can. Sign Language is influenced by entirely equivalent historical social and psychological factors as spoken language - there are rules for attention-getting, turn-taking, story telling, there are jokes, puns and taboo signs, there are generational effects observed in Sign Language, metaphors and ‘slips of the hand’ ” (Penn, 1993, p.12).
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