Deaf Awareness Week | Western Cape Government

Deaf Awareness Week

(Western Cape Government)

Deaf Awareness Week is commemorated annually during the first week of September.

The Western Cape Government continues to raise awareness about the needs of the Deaf community, by instilling social tolerance and acceptance in people, and informing the public about the needs of the deaf.

Language Services Unit

sign language alphabet

The Language Services Unit at the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport liaises with several organisations, schools, societies and associations for the deaf in promoting South African Sign Language. The Department realises that the Deaf community in the Western Cape is small, and therefore the Language Services Component goes that extra mile in ensuring that people who phone in, fax, e-mail or send text messages, have sufficient access to information.

Promoting Language Diversity

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport strives to create awareness, and improve its partnership with the Deaf community by promoting language diversity.

You can contact various Deaf Associations for more information.



Do's and Don'ts When Dealing with a Deaf or Hard-of-hearing Person


  • Create a relaxed atmosphere so that the individual feels comfortable to speak.
  • Do not rush the person. Feel free to ask them to repeat something if you did not understand them.
  • Do not try to finish the person's sentences.
  • Find other ways to communicate - for example, look for another person who may understand.
  • Ask whether the person would like your assistance. Never assume that this is the case and never rush in to assist someone; rather wait for the person's request.


Guidelines for Communication with a Deaf Person


  • Establish a comfortable distance between you and the deaf person.
  • Establish eye contact before initiating communication.
  • Wait for your turn before signing/speaking.
  • Keep the face clear of any obstruction.
  • Do not stand with your back against a light, as this will obstruct their view.




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Image Source: Thibologa Sign Language Institution

The content on this page was last updated on 18 May 2018