Visual Language – Weekly Inspiring Image

south africa sign language

A teacher at a school for the Deaf in South Africa converses with one of her students. It is estimated that approximately 600,000 South Africans use Sign Language as their primary language and that 75% of this Deaf community are functionally non-literate. Even Deaf children who are lucky enough to go to school generally only achieve the reading level equivalent of a hearing 8 year old. Never able to hear a spoken language, Deaf people often explain that learning to read is like memorizing phone numbers. Their language is purely visual. In early 2013 a Bible translation project started for South African Sign Language. Anges Kuenue, a translator for the project, says, “Pastors sometimes preach and tell the congregation to read their Bible at home. The Deaf go home but they don’t read. They leave the Bible on the shelf because they don’t understand.” Click here for more stories.

Photo: Marc Ewell | Words: Elyse Patten