A committee in the South Africa Parliament has started a process to bring an amendment to the South African Constitution to add South African Sign Language (SASL) as the country’s 12th official language. It is now being discussed in a Constitutional Review Committee and will be introduced to the house of representatives.
The Deaf Federation of South Africa is the organization that first applied for SASL to be formally recognized — they applied 10 years ago and now it’s finally being considered in the parliament. If passed and amended, it will have an impact on deaf schools, government organizations and media, who sometimes do not recognize or support sign language.
There are potential challenges to this action — because there are different sign dialects in South Africa — and the parliament will have to figure out the costs and logistics of applying SASL to schools, courts, and media. Despite the challenges, the efforts to recognize SASL appears to be in motion and it is expected to be placed before the House by the end of this year.