Deaf couple's 'ears'
A THREE-YEAR-OLD Pretoria girl has become a blessing to her deaf parents. This is because Sfundo Mbuyazi is their indispensible "ears" when it really matters.
Sfundo gives her mother Samora and father Khetha Mbuyazi signals when there is a knock at the door, or when the phone rings.
Samora says: "Sfundo understands a little bit of sign language. She tries to tell me if there's some noise. Sometimes she would wake me up in the middle of the night when her little sister Smangele, who is 18 months old, becomes unsettled."
The 30-year-old mother adds: "I am very happy and I knew before they were born that they would be able to hear and it would be easy for them to help us."
Samora, who sets her phone to vibrate, says her daughter tells her when it rings and it's not on her.
"If it's her grandmother, I would ask Sfudo to communicate with her.
"But, if it is a serious family matter, I normally use an SMS to communicate." She says communication was difficult when her children were still very young.
Their grandmother, Thabile Mbuyazi, who took care of them, died in 2005. They had since employed a child minder for the children. The minder is not fluent in sign language, but tries very hard, says Samora.
The couple met six years ago and have been married for 21 months.
"My husband is caring, he loves joking and accepts me for who I am," says Samora.
Hubby Khetha, 32, says: "I love my wife. She is a brave Xhosa woman, who speaks her mind. Her beautiful smile attracted me to her, and has helped change my life, correcting me when I do something wrong."
Communication at home is easier thanks to Sfundo, but when Samora and Khetha step outside their home, it gets harder to communicate. At the shops, they communicate through notes. Writing on pieces of paper makes communication easier, says Khetha.
Samora works for the Deaf Federation of South Africa as a job placement officer, and Khetha at the Hatfield CCTV Review Centre that assists deaf job seekers, and helps them in disciplinary hearings.
The Mbuyazi family say they enjoy watching music videos, soapies, especially Rhythm City, Scandal and Isidingo because of the full subtitles.
The family also enjoys trips to the zoo or to local entertainment resorts. And, on those trips, the couple says Sfundo is their ears and helps to bridge the language divide.