South African Sign Language - 12th Official Language

National Executive Committee of DeafSA at the 197th meeting stated that DeafSA will continue to lobby for SASL to become the 12th official language of South Africa and therefore launched its new campaign  “Solidarity in South African Sign Language”.

SASL holds the key to a Deaf person’s enjoyment of virtually all his/her human rights. Stated differently, Deaf people have no access to their rights unless SASL becomes readily available to us as a mean of access to communication, information and other forms of human experience. To this end, the Bill of Rights which forms Chapter 2 of the South African Constitution has no significant value to the Deaf community in absence of SASL. Deaf people’s rights are built on SASL, but this only language of Deaf people is not recognised as an official language.

Our constitution confirms that South Africa is not only committed to correcting the past marginalisation, but also to listen to the people’s outcry and compete as strongly as possible with the rest of the world. The Deaf community too have experienced many decades of marginalisation during the apartheid era in South Africa and this marginalisation still continues today, in terms of no official status of our language, individuals to contribute and participate meaningfully in a free society are not guaranteed and unlocked and there is no planning and implementation of successful educational programmes for and with Deaf students to receive quality and equal education in SASL

South African Sign language is at the core of Deaf people’s lives.SASL makes accessibility for Deaf people possible;

•without accessibility, Deaf people will be isolated.

Thus, full enjoyment of human rights for Deaf people is based on the recognition and respect for Deaf culture and identity.