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South African Sign Language set to become official language

Teenage Boy And Girl Have Conversation Using Sign Language

South Africa has approved the Constitutional Eighteenth Amendment Bill for public comment, which will finally be making South African Sign Language (SASL) the country’s 12th official language.

This is a massive step in the right direction to tackle the marginalisation of people with hearing disabilities as it will make the language more accessible not only to the community but to the general public at large.

This comes after the Department of Basic Education announced that it will incorporate sign language as an option in the school curriculum in its annual budget speech this month.

South African Sign Language (SASL) has been mooted as an official language for a number of years, with a parliament committee proposing its adoption in 2020. While the amendment bill has not been published at the time of writing, it is set to include an amendment of Section 6 of the Constitution and the National Official Languages, recognising SASL as the 12th official language.

Liz-Anne Booysens, Gauteng’s Provincial Director for Deaf SA, expressed her happiness for this approval, saying that making the language more accessible to the public in preserving the human rights of deaf people in the country but would like it to be used more prevalently in public institutions.

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