Thursday, July 18, 2024

South Africa: Children's Parliament Welcomes Sign Language Bill Becoming Law

The President of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Parliament, Dikgang Morudu, has welcomed the signing of the Sign Language Bill into law by President Cyril Ramaphosa as the 12th official language.

Members of the Children’s Parliament have been advocating for the recognition of sign language as an official language to accommodate children who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The President hosted a signing ceremony of the South African Sign Language Bill at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Wednesday,

During their 10th sitting in 2021, the members of the Children’s Parliament appointed Hamza Muhammad as their President, a deaf boy from the Dominican School in the Western Cape.

Upon receiving the news, Hamza said the signing of the bill into law “was good news for deaf people”.

“As a deaf person and former President of the Children’s Parliament, I have always wanted South Africa to make sign language official. I am happy to hear that President Cyril Ramaphosa has recognised it as an official language,” Hamza said.

He added that the signing of the bill showed there are no two separate worlds in the country.

“We are all human beings who live in one world and deaf people also have rights. I would like to thank the President for supporting deaf people in the country,” he said.

On 14 July 2023, members of the Children’s Parliament continued to raise their voices regarding the recognition of sign language during their 11th sitting in Bisho, in the Eastern Cape.