The first week of September is National Week for the Deaf.
South Africa is one of only a few countries in the World to have recognized sign language as a legal language and has approved it for the education of deaf Learners.
Although not an official South African language, South African Sign Language (SASL) is, like Khoisan and Northern Ndebele, an unofficial language in its own right.
Closely related to the British and American sign languages, SASL relies heavily on facial and body signs.
For example, when a signer asks a question that requires a yes or no answer they will lift their eyebrows and shrug the head and shoulders forward.
Unlike the old, unwieldy, two handed finger writing, SASL is used to convey entire words. Many people have the misconception that sign language is universal, and some of it is, but mostly it isn’t.
The most important thing for the hearing community to remember is that a smile says a thousand words and a thumbs up is always good!