Zwakala competition for the deaf is back

Patience Bambalele

Patience Bambalele

The acclaimed Zwakala National Deaf Poetry and Drama Competition is back to thrill audiences.

Staged in partnership with SABC3 and Deaf Television, the Zwakala competition has in the past two years grown and become famous among the deaf.

The competition was established in 2006 with the aim of creating a platform to not only motivate the deaf youth of South Africa, but also to promote their self-empowerment and to bring hope and understanding.

Once again this year the competition continues with its mission of giving deaf people exposure and to showcase their talent in the fields of poetry and drama.

The festival has four exciting categories open to pupils from primary up to secondary school.

Barbara Peters of Zwakala said: "We have various categories where pupils will be participating. In our first category, pupils from six to nine years of age can enter by choosing one of two possible topics - like telling us about their heroes or creating their own alphabet poem."

This year, Deaf Television has chosen a strong panel of judges - all experts in the field of performing arts, deaf education, sign language and English.

The judges will include Paul Simmons, South African Sign Language lecturer at the University of the Witwatersrand, Sophia Kostelac, Ingrid Parkin and Sophie Ndaba.

The regional judging sessions in various provinces are on until May 8, and will be taking place at host schools.

The final judging session will be held at a prestigious gala at the theatre of the University of Johannesburg on October 30.