year in review 2018 Paperturn - Page 52



SPEAKING WITH
TWO HANDS AND
ALL 10 FINGERS
Two hands and 10 fingers are all it takes to learn a new language that’s
inclusive and transforming, staff learnt on a pilot Signing programme.
members of the university to come on
board for the introductory course.”
Deaf staff members Roy Priestley
and Thumi Manvashe from the Faculty
of Health Sciences were part of the
pilot programme, and invaluable
teachers and demonstrators.
“Sign language is like any other –
a fully-fledged language with its own
rules and structure,” said Modutle.
“The signs themselves are like
pictures. For example, the sign for
Cape Town is of Table Mountain.
Once you start visualising it, it
becomes easy.”
Staff Learning Centre course
coordinator Sibongile Dano-Bopape
felt inadequate when dealing with Deaf
people at the centre. Besides a basic
greeting, she couldn’t communicate.
This course has changed that.
A sense of humour and some tenacity
also eased the way for the eight staff
members who are now able to greet
people, and share their age, name
and other basic personal details. They
also learnt useful background on Deaf
culture, said Lesego Modutle of the
Disability Service in the Office for
Inclusivity and Change.
Modutle and her colleague,
writing development coordinator
Glynnis Newdigate, created the pilot
programme.
“I’ve noticed that Deaf people tend
to be isolated; if there’s no interpreter
with them, they’re basically cut off,”
said Modutle.
The pilot phase went very well and
the students asked for a second level.
“But it’s baby steps. We’d love
to make this broader and for more
50

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