Civil orgs want Ramaphosa to learn sign language to apologise to deaf community

An organisation called Tourism Friendly on Saturday said the president had ignored a promise he made last year to the deaf community that sign language would become the 12th official language.

President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the nation on Sunday, 28 February. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - Civil society organisations want President Cyril Ramaphosa and his Cabinet to learn sign language as an apology to the deaf community for delaying the process of recognising it as an official language.

An organisation called Tourism Friendly on Saturday said the president had ignored a promise he made last year to the deaf community that sign language would become the 12th official language.

The organisation's director Ian Gunn said the recognition of South African sign language would accelerate and deepen the inclusion of deaf people as a linguistic and cultural right.

“In March last year, the president himself said that they’re very close to making sign language the 12th official language. My comment to the president is, you have made a promise which you haven’t kept. So, as an apology to all the people with hearing disabilities and deaf in South Africa, the president should learn sign language and apologise to the deaf.”

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