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South Africa makes Sign Language Official Language
August 20, 2017, 11:17 am

The Constitutional Review Committee of Parliament in South Africa has recommended that the South African Sign Language (SASL) be given an official status. The committee is recommending that relevant section of the constitution be amended to include SASL as an official language. The committee accepted the fact that, the issue of addressing the proposal for declaring SASL as an official language was long overdue. It is expected that the necessary formalities would be made by Parliament to ensure the amendment of the Constitution to accommodate this.

This is indeed a positive response not only to Deaf communities but also to the entire country particularly to those who wish to study sign language, said the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB).

"We are of the view that SASL like any other official language is a fundamental human right that should be treated equally. We have made several crucial calls to government to prioritize sign language like any other formal language and efforts have for a very long time drawn blank. This was done on the basis that we believe it has been violated and marginalized as compared to other languages," said the CEO of PanSALB, Dr. Rakwena Monareng.

"As it is enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, we believe all languages are equal and that it should all be given the recognition, respect and publicity it deserves," added Dr. Monareng.


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