In celebration of Deaf Awareness Month and South African Sign Language being declared the 12th Official Language, Capricorn District Municipality joined the Limpopo Department of Sport, Arts and Culture in the Silent Walk and International Translation Day celebration. The walk that took place on 28 September 2023, started at SABC Park in Polokwane and CDM was represented by the Portfolio Chairperson for Community Services Cllr Makgato Machaba.
Amongst the demands made, was that the language must be improved by allowing more able people to learn and communicate using sign language, be included in sports participation especially since there is improved technology, and that government, municipalities and other government entities employ two sign language practitioners.

Speaking on behalf of the Premier, Councilor Makgato Mashaba said since September 1951 when the first World Congress of World Federation of Deaf took place, there has been slow implementation in recognizing and protecting the rights of deaf people but making it official language is a huge development by breaking the barrier of equality.

Mr Kwena Mamabolo who is also deaf says one of the greatest challenges is the right of privacy when seeking medical assistance.

“Whenever we have to consult in both private and public facilities, we encounter challenges from reception to consultation with the health profession because of language barrier. We always must get someone to translate and, in the process, we lose our right to privacy”.

Being accommodated in public transport and joining in conversation that affects them remains a challenge as most people are not equipped with sign language. The provincial government committed itself with employing qualified and trained interpreters by making extensive background check and not employ those that will take chances which will affect accurate dissemination of information to intended stakeholders.

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