15th Anniversary – Wits Centre for Deaf Studies

From the Wits Media Release:

A tenacious spirit seeing to the needs of Deaf education has led to a state-of-the-art, one-of-a-kind centre studying the needs of an often marginalised community.

The Centre for Deaf Studies at Wits, a pioneer in Deaf education, turned 15 this year. Under the strong leadership of Professor Claudine Störbeck, who started the Centre, it has become a leader on the African continent, specialising in Teacher Education in Deaf Education, Bilingual Education and how it is implemented in the new South African Sign Language Curriculum in 2015 as well as the much neglected field of early intervention for families and their Deaf infants.

The Centre celebrated Deaf Awareness Month in September with various events, while the 15-year celebration takes place this week, coinciding with the launch of a coffee table book detailing the history of the Centre and Deaf education at Wits as well as the celebration of Deaf South African heroes and Centre for Deaf Studies alumni, both young and old.

At the launch and 15-year celebration, the Centre will also honour four South Africans who have been instrumental in advancing Deaf education and the Deaf community in South Africa. Previous recipients of our awards have included the late Professor Phillip Tobias, who brought the first Deaf student to Wits and mentored him.

Recipients of the awards will receive a moulded and bronzed “I love you” sign mounted on a wooden stand – a unique addition to any mantelpiece.


South African Sign Language Lessons – Holiday

The word holiday is derived from the Old English word haligdæg, and originally meant a religious festival or day of rest or recreation. The meaning of the word only diverged to its current meaning from the late 1800s, while in the US, what we refer to as a holiday is more commonly referred to as a vacation.

Whatever you choose to call it, holidays are a great time to relax, socialise, and discover new places, whether in your own country, or abroad. If you are a frequent traveler, check out WishBeen, a new web and mobile app for planning and sharing your travel plans, wherever it is you are going.

If, however, your traveling companions, or hosts, are deaf, you may first want to brush up on some relevant Sign Language; and Thabo is here to help you with this week’s South African Sign Language lesson.

Having difficulty viewing the video? Try this link.


Nicola Gouws

In Talia’s Journey

DTV concludes its in-depth look at cochlear implants.

In South African Sign Language Lessons

Unfortunately, there is no SASL lesson this week. Thabo will be back soon to continue introducing you to South African Sign Language.

In Candy @

Candice meets Nicola Gouws, a young lady who loves being in the air.


This week you have another chance to win a prize in our exclusive competition.

DTV Broadcast Times
This episode is broadcast on Saturday, 1 November 2014 at 12h00 (CAT), and repeated on Sunday, 2 November 2014 at 02h30 (CAT). Only on SABC 3.

United Nations Day 2014

Today is United Nations Day, commemorating the entry into force of the Charter of the United Nations.

The United Nations was established on 24 October 1945 to promote international co-operation, and to prevent conflicts on the scale of the World Wars. The United Nations has grown from 51 member states at its founding, to 193 member states currently, and its mission has grown beyond preserving world peace. The United Nations was not the first organisation that sought to regulate conflicts between nations, but it is the longest running, and also represents a far greater number of nations and people than any of the earlier organisations.

In 1948, the General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which serves more as a common standard of achievement for all nations than a legally binding document. Nonetheless, the United Nations continues to focus extensively on

promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion

In December 2006, the landmark Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted by the General Assembly, with South Africa being one of the first nations to sign the document in March 2007. The Convention has more than 30 articles that cover the specific rights of persons with disabilities, which all member states are expected to adhere to. These include rights such as (the full document can be viewed on the United Nations website)

  • As a change of perceptions is essential to improve the situation of persons with disabilities, ratifying countries are to combat stereotypes and prejudices and promote awareness of the capabilities of persons with disabilities (Article 8).
  • Countries are to guarantee that persons with disabilities enjoy their inherent right to life on an equal basis with others (Article 10), ensure the equal rights and advancement of women and girls with disabilities (Article 6) and protect children with disabilities (Article 7).
  • On the fundamental issue of accessibility (Article 9), the Convention requires countries to identify and eliminate obstacles and barriers and ensure that persons with disabilities can access their environment, transportation, public facilities and services, and information and communications technologies.
  • Countries are to promote access to information by providing information intended for the general public in accessible formats and technologies, by facilitating the use of Braille, sign language and other forms of communication and by encouraging the media and Internet providers to make on-line information available in accessible formats (Article 21).

Some people questioned the need for a separate convention for persons with disabilities, and the United Nations addresses these questions in the FAQ on their website, stating, amongst others that

The rights enumerated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in a perfect world, would be enough to protect everyone. But in practice certain groups, such as women, children and refugees have fared far worse than other groups and international conventions are in place to protect and promote the human rights of these groups. Similarly, the 650 million people in the world living with disabilities—about 10 per cent of the world’s population—lack the opportunities of the mainstream population. They encounter a myriad of physical and social obstacles that:

  • Prevent them from receiving an education;

  • Prevent them from getting jobs, even when they are well qualified;

  • Prevent them from accessing information;

  • Prevent them from obtaining proper health care;

  • Prevent them from getting around;

  • Prevent them from “fitting in” and being accepted.

The Convention does not create any new rights or entitlements for persons with disabilities, but instead it expresses existing rights in ways that address the specific needs of persons with disabilities.

Celebrate United Nations Day by

  • Enjoying the rights afforded you by its declarations and conventions, and those enshrined in our own Constitution.
  • Learning more about the United Nations, and what they do.
  • Sharing this with others.
South African Sign Language Lessons - Braai

South African Sign Language Lessons – Braai

For some people a braai is all about the sounds, but for me it is all about the mix of distinctive odours. From the sharp, waxy scent of paraffin in the firelighters, to the powdery acridness of the charcoal – all later replaced first by the smokiness of the fire, and then by the delightful aroma of cooking.

Of course, those aren’t the only odours one associates with a braai, which could easily mix with the scent of a freshly mowed lawn, the floweriness of someone’s perfume, and even the yeasty aroma of beer. Whatever it is that you associate with a braai, make sure you don’t miss out on the social aspect of it – our latest South African Sign Language lesson can help. Join Thabo as he demonstrates a variety of signs relating to a braai.

Having difficulty viewing the video? Try this link.



Wilhelm van der Walt

In Talia’s Journey

We continue our in-depth look at cochlear implants.

In South African Sign Language Lessons

They say a change is as good as a holiday, but let’s be honest – there is very little that refreshes you physically and mentally quite like a real holiday.

Join Thabo as he introduces you to a few signs that will help you when discussing holidays, and holiday related activities.

In Candy @

Candice spends some time with Wilhelm van der Walt: a young actor who excels at playing a conniving character on 7de Laan.

DTV Broadcast Times
This episode is broadcast on Saturday, 25 October 2014 at 12h00 (CAT), and repeated on Sunday, 26 October 2014 at 02h30 (CAT). Only on SABC 3.

Competition Time

In the last few episodes you might have noticed someone who keeps showing up around Candice, and now his face even starts showing up randomly throughout each episode! Count how many times you see Crazy Colin’s face appear in each episode, then email your answer to

or SMS to

082 343 6321

If yours is the first correct entry received you will win a fantastic prize courtesy of SABC 3 and DTV. Don’t worry if you missed him in yesterday’s episode, Crazy Colin will be showing up again over the next four weeks, with a prize to be one each time.

So make sure you don’t miss a single episode of DTV.



Octavia Nyadi


South African Sign Language Lessons – Directions

Remember your first week in a new school, or new job? What about the first time you visited a friend’s house? You don’t know where anything is and you either have to ask for directions, or wander around like a lost soul.

The same applies when you have to drive to a new location, but with the high cost of petrol, you want to ask for directions.

In our latest South African Sign Language lesson, Thabo introduces us to a few signs relating to directions. They might not stop you from getting lost again, but they’ll certainly help you when you have to stop someone and ask for directions.

Having difficulty viewing the video? Try this link.


DTVs Responsive Website

A growing number of people are using their mobile devices (phones and tablets) to access the Internet; this is happening throughout the world – not only in Africa. The problem, however, is that many websites are not designed to be accessed via mobile devices, meaning you either have to zoom in, or scroll left and right continuously, just to be able to read the text.

This is why, when relaunching the DTV website in June 2014, our first priority was making sure the website was fully accessible on all devices, using a responsive design: from Blackberry through to all other smartphones, and from iPads through to laptops and desktop computers. This meant that all the images had to shrink to fit any screen size, the text had to be legible without you having to zoom in, and while you still have to scroll down the page, you shouldn’t have to scroll left and right. Additionally, the site had to adjust properly regardless of whether you viewed it in landscape mode, or portrait mode.

Except for the navigation menu at the top of the page, the site retains the same look and function, regardless of what device you are using. It is only on smaller screens that the regular navigation menu is replaced by a club sandwich menu – that is the term used for the icon shown in the following image


and almost all mobile responsive website use either the hamburger menu, or the club sandwich menu. Tapping on the icon reveals all the links normally shown in the standard navigation menu.

A final step, currently underway, is to ensure that all images on the website have also been optimised: reducing the file size of all images, without noticeably affecting the quality of the images. This isn’t essential, but it is recommended – the cost of mobile data is still quite high in many countries, so the aim is to ensure that the website loads as quickly as possible, especially on mobile devices that don’t support 3G and LTE. This is achieved, on DTV’s website, by using a combination of ImageOptim, ImageAlpha and JPEGmini, depending on the image file type.