Sign Language for Deaf Becomes Official Language in South Africa

Sign language for the deaf and dumb has become the 12th official language in South Africa. South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa signed legislation into law last month recognizing sign as the country’s 12th official language.

The other official languages in South Africa include English, isiZulu, Afrikaans. Sign was accepted as an official language to help protect the rights of the deaf and promote inclusivity.

According to reports, till now only 41 countries have recognized sign language as an official language. Out of them, four are in Africa – Kenya, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

India has not yet recognized sign language as an official language.

Wilma Newhoudt-Druchen is South Africa’s only deaf Member of Parliament.


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