Minister Anroux Marais' speech: Celebrating SA Sign Language in Worcester
WESTERN CAPE MINISTER OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS AND SPORT, ANROUX MARAIS
CELEBRATING SIGN LANGUAGE
5 DECEMBER 2017
It is indeed both an absolute pleasure and honour to address you at this very auspicious occasion in Worcester today.
Together with the National Institute for the Deaf (NID), the Western Cape Language Committee (WCLC) and other stakeholders, we celebrate sign language and the proactive services available to ease communication between the hearing public and the “deaf world”.
For far too long has the hearing community had very little knowledge on how to interact with the deaf community. It is for this reason that we are gathered here today. We are here to facilitate smoother communication between the two communities by highlighting the services available to contribute to the social inclusivity of all.
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) and the WCLC are, amongst others, mandated to promote the three official languages of the Western Cape, namely Afrikaans, English and Xhosa, as well as the previously marginalised indigenous languages of the Western Cape and South African Sign Language (SASL).
I am proud to announce that our departmental Language Services Unit provides transversal language support services, including SASL interpreting to deaf officials in the employment of the Western Cape Government. The Department, in consultation with organisations representing interests of the Deaf communities in the Province, has created a credible database of professionally trained SASL interpreters.
Today, we launch the official poster to inform the public that they can contact our Language Unit if sign interpreters are needed so to create an enabling environment in which linguistic democracy can flourish.
Contrary to the popular belief that knowledge is power, I am of the opinion that instead, language is power because if you cannot communicate your knowledge in a language understood by your audience, where does the power then in actual fact lie? Because communication is key to understanding, tolerance and acceptance, it is important for us as stakeholders to facilitate communicative processes in which all who call the Western Cape home feels a sense of belonging, regardless of levels of sensory ability. In this way, we together work towards our vision of a socially inclusive, active and connected Western Cape.
I leave you with the thought provoking words of Marlee Matlin, the only deaf Academy Award winner and later awarded an Oscar, who once said, “Every one of us is different in some way, but for those of us who are more different, we have to put more effort into convincing the less different that we can do the same thing they can, just differently”.
I thank you.