HARARE – Top female musicians Plaxedes Wenyika, Clare Nyakujara and female rapper/MC Tracy “Trae Yung” Mbeulani (pictured) will perform during a Deaf Zimbabwe Trust fundraising dinner to be held at Queen Elizabeth High School Hall next week on Friday.
The December 6 fundraising dinner, that will also include speeches from respected ear and throat surgeon Clemence Chidziva and University of Zimbabwe lecturer Tsitsi Chataika, will be held as part of commemorations of the International Day of the Disabled.
The disability day commemoration is done on December 3 each year and this year it is being celebrated under the theme “Breaking barriers, open doors for an inclusive society and development for all.”
Though the Deaf Zimbabwe Trust is happy with the work being done by government and disabled people’s organisations in advancing the interests of disabled people, the organisation says the eye should remain on the ball.
"While progress has been noted among people with visual impairments and the physically disabled, among whom have arisen lawyers, teachers, pastors, academics and accountants, to mention a few, Deaf Zimbabwe Trust notes with concern that not much progress has been made to address issues that daily confront children and adults who are deaf and hard of hearing,” said the Trust in a statement.
“The barriers for people who are deaf remain high in the educational sector, the health delivery sector, labour market and in their social lives. The language barrier is a reality they face in all spheres of life.”
The Trust applauded the recognition of sign language as one of Zimbabwe’s official languages but added that the country appears unprepared to create an inclusive society.
“The hearing community has not been willing to make accommodations to create an inclusive society where people who are deaf are able to easily access information and services through a medium of communication they understand.
“The provision of sign language as one of the official languages in the national Constitution is a welcome development for the deaf community, however just making it an official language is not the end of the story but the beginning.
“Sign language as a form of communication has been overlooked in Zimbabwe leading to the marginalisation and discrimination of deaf people. A language has to be developed and harmonised so that variations are documented.”
The statement also calls for sign language interpretation services to be readily available in the country.
“More needs to be done to ensure that a distinct Zimbabwean sign language is developed and popularised.” read part of the statement.
“Sign language is a distinctive language for deaf people and it is important for hearing people to think of the difficulties that deaf people face in accessing everyday services taken for granted such as health care and education in the absence of sign language.
“There is need for the hearing community to learn sign language; there is need for interpretation services to be readily available in schools, hospitals, churches and television. The onus lies with the hearing community to break barriers, open doors for an inclusive society that does not discriminate and exclude people who are differently able.”