Deaf people talk poetry

Victor Mecoamere

Victor Mecoamere

"Deaf people are not heard, they remain a silent minority," says Louise van Niekerk.

Van Niekerk, who trains deaf and hearing-impaired people for television work - including presenting and acting, is not dispairing though.

Van Niekerk has been encouraged by the belief that being deaf does not mean you cannot be heard. He is the chief organiser of the 2007 Zwakala National Deaf Poetry Competition.

Zwakala, sponsored by SABC3 and DTV (a youth variety show) takes place at the Wits Theatre in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, tonight.

Zwakala, which promotes awareness about the deaf and hearing-impaired in South Africa, gives children a platform to express themselves through poetry, using sign language.

Van Niekerk takes solace from this poem by Re' van der Merwe, titled Deaf But Normal :

In my silent world

I play,

I laugh,

I cry,

Life is good to me...why?

I am just a normal boy.