This year the South African deaf community in partnership with SABC3 and Dtv, the only deaf magazine programme on national TV, invites viewers to be part of Zwakala, the national deaf poetry and drama competition.
Zwakala coincides with International Deaf Awareness week, and serves as a tool to create awareness of this silent minority that is cut off from the hearing world due to prejudice, lack of tolerance and understanding.
Dtv’s national poetry and drama competition for deaf learners reach all the schools for the deaf in South Africa. It provides a platform where deaf youth can express their feelings, their fears, and their hopes through the performing arts.
Dali Mpofu, the then GCEO of the SABC, says: “We all know that people with disabilities are often victims of neglect and abuse. This is a direct attack on their human dignity. We are committed to, not only providing basic facilities for the deaf community, but to fight together to restore their human dignity.’
From 2008 to 2010 Zwakala grew to be a strong brand supported by the Department of Arts and Culture, Deafsa and Pansalb. In 2009/10 Zwakala won the Pansalb multilingual award for the promotion and development of South African sign language on television.
As director of Deaf Education Ingrid Parkin said: “The improvement in the output quality of this year’s contestants in comparison with last year’s was astounding and this bears testimony to the fact that Zwakala is fuelling the development of deaf South African storytellers and poets. It will go from strength to strength, of that I am sure.’
Maybe the best proof of the success of Zwakala is that 2008 winner, Darren Rajbal, went on to win SA’s Got Talent, a mainstream competition.
In 2011 the Zwakala song was launched. Performed by Mango Groove and signed by Candice Morgan, Dtv gives the deaf of the world its first struggle song which acknowledges the struggle following the 1880 Milan congress and gives hope for the future.
Zwakala has 4 categories:
Category A: 5-10 years –Storytelling
Category B: 11-15 years- Storytelling
Category C: 15-20 years- Poetry
Category D: 5-20 Group drama production
Minister of Public Service and Administration Lindiwe Sisulu has taken over as patron of Zwakala, thus keeping the Sisulu legacy alive.
This year Dtv has chosen a strong panel of judges, all experts in their field. The judges are: Modiegi Moime – SASL coordinator, John West – actor and photographer and Khabonina Qubeka – actor and presenter
The regional judging session will be taking place on 6 August at Postmasters, 24 Ditton Avenue Auckland Park at 18h30.
For further information and confirmation contact Barbara Peters at Barbarap@tiscali.co.za or phone 011 782 3364.