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Deaf History: Southern Africa

  • By: Annette D. Madlock Gatison
  • In: The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia
  • Edited by: Genie Gertz & Patrick Boudreault
  • Subject:Physical Disabilities, Otorhinolaryngology (Ears, Nose, & Throat)

The Republic of South Africa is located at the southern tip of the continent of Africa. It is a diverse nation spread over nine provinces and home to nearly 53 million people with the number of deaf estimated at 4 million or more. The government of South Africa recognizes 11 official languages. However, South African Sign Language (SASL) is not accorded the same official status, though it is officially recognized in the constitution and other legislation, such as the South African School Act of 1996.

The most recent census provides a glimpse of the racial and ethnic diversity that is South Africa. 79.2 percent of the African/Black population is composed of four major ethnic groups—Nguni (composed of the Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele, and Swazi people), Sotho-Tswana ...

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