The Disability Rights Unit of the Durban University of Technology organized a module that was presented over the course of five days in basic South African sign language. The assessment consisted of both theoretical and practical activities, “the purpose of the module was to equip the learner with basic skills necessary to communicate in South African Sign Language” said Odwa Mahlungulu Public Relations Intern.

The DUT stuff was invited to attend this workshop, the departments that attended are those that deal with students on a day to day basis, departments like the Student Governance, HIV/AIDS center, Housing Department, Finance Department, RadioDUT as well as the Disability Rights Unit.

The main objective of this course is to try and bridge the communication gap between the deaf and the hearing community of DUT. Communication has been such a major barrier, students not being able to get proper assistance or get directed to proper channels mainly because they can’t communicate, the course will make it easier to understand the basic sign language and will also shed light on how to understand deaf people and their grammar because it is not the same as that of the hearing persons, sign language is ungrammatical.

There are some myths and assumptions about deaf people and sign language that have appeared throughout the years such as that deaf people are retarded, all deaf people can lip-read, deaf people are disabled or handicapped, this course helped with eradicating all these myths.

All the candidates that completed the five day course will receive certificates of completion at a later stage, and most importantly they will be better equipped with communication skills  with the deaf.

By: Nonhlanhla Chair


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