A CELEBRATION for Michael Swartz for being able to hear for the first time in his life, took place at the Old Selbornian Club on Saturday.
The celebration followed two unsuccessful cochlear implants at the ages of three and 18. An audiologist at Cape Town’s Tygerberg Hospital remapped the one he received when he was 18, and he could finally hear – at the age of 25!
The ecstatic Michael walked into his celebration to the cheers of family and friends, dancing to country music. The programme included a list of tributes and well wishes for this new journey.
Guest speaker Phumla Jola said she met Michael when he was little and has been part of his life ever since.
“I used to interpret [into sign language] for him at church and assisted him with his homework after-hours. I became a close family friend and became a part of his support system. I’m so happy for him that he can now hear my voice,” Jola said.
His mother, Sandy Swartz, had been trying tirelessly for years to get him all the help he needs. She even resorted to visit televangelist Pastor TB Joshua of The Synangogue, Church of All Nations in Nigeria, but to no avail.
“Michael has taught us more than we’ve taught him. He’s taught us how to accept everybody – no matter the colour, what size, what or shape. He’s taught us to appreciate things through different eyes and accept things unconditionally,” Swartz said
Among his numerous tributes was that of famous South African singer Danny K, who met Michael before he could hear. In his video message he said, “Congratulations and you’ve persevered through it all”.
Although Michael still has a journey ahead of him with speech therapy, learning pronunciation and vocabulary, he spoke to the his elated crowd.
“Thank you so much for coming and I hope you have a great time,” he said.
Entertainment included Desert Diva’s, Jo Jackson Dance Company dancers, Jo Jackson’s Dancers and an enthralling Elvis Presley impersonation by MC Daniel Anderson.
Michael’s boyfriend, Jordan Clarke, said that this was a blessing from God and he can finally hear him over the phone.
EDIT: Below is a voice note from Sandy Swartz, Michael’s mother commending the GO! on the accurate reporting done. This after reading the June 7 print edition, “The sound of music”.