The Buffalo Deaf Association (BDA) held a fun-filled educational picnic at the Ann Bryant Art Gallery last Saturday.
The BDA seeks to ensure that deaf communities experience all aspects of life like any other members of the community.
BDA’s Nomvuzo Luwaca said it was important to create awareness about deafness.
“Deaf people are not able to express themselves to us hearing people, and it is not nice to overlook them. There are only two schools in EC that cater for deaf people but no colleges to further their education.
“They have to leave the province to advance themselves,” Luwaca said.
She noted that with the lack of further education options available to the deaf community, it often left them stuck in low-paying jobs.
“They can easily be taken advantage of and are also marginalised. People easily lose interest because they cannot communicate with the deaf community,” Luwaca said.
Sign language interpreter Sabo Zifo said facial expressions were an important part of sign language communication.
“You need to have a very good memory in deaf culture as a few signs look the same.
“It is also about movement, though. You also need to focus on the message being said and not interpret it in your own way.
“You must be confident and pass on the message,” Zifo said.
The GO! took part in some of the educational activities, which included learning basic sign language greetings.
According to BDA, sign language is only taught in English, which leads to another form of segregation between the deaf and the community.
Yolande Nkosi and her son, JR, guest-starred at the event, performing a musical item on the keyboard.
“My son is autistic and a pupil at Parklands School. He can listen to a song once then play it — it is amazing.
“We want other people to be inspired, no matter what circumstances they face,” Nkosi said.
BDA also run skills development programmes, workshops and collaborative programmes to create awareness and empower the deaf and other communities to live productively.
For further information, contact Luwaca on 081-7499039 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
BUILDING BRIDGES: The Buffalo Deaf Association (BDA) held a picnic at the Ann Bryant Gallery last Saturday Picture: AMANDA NANO