Sign language became one of Zimbabwe’s official languages with the Constitution of 2013, and a local school has taken the initiative to lead the popularisation of this constitutional guarantee by introducing it in its curriculum.
While the use of sign language as an official language has not been popularised in schools but remained in the preserve of special schools, a local private school, Ambassadors Advent Academy says it has included sign language in its circular to help eradicate discrimination against those with hearing and speech impairments.
Board chairman and proprietor of the school Dr Luxon Zembe revealed they have introduced sign language at ordinary level up to A’ Level.
In commending the initiative, chairman of Sunrise Sign Language Academy Mr Douglas Mapeta said the deaf culture has been misunderstood by society and looked down upon because of communication barriers.
It is hoped the initiative by the school will also be adopted by other parts of society so that sign language can be popularised and break the discriminatory communication boundaries currently prevalent.
The World Federation of the Deaf estimates that there are about 70 million deaf people who use sign language as their first language or mother tongue.