For the past few months, Every Tuesday at lunchtime I waltzed onto UCT’s upper campus for a lecture. I swanned past regular full time students, lecturers and campus staff into our lecture theatre in the Soc Sci building to be greeted by an unusual silence and the presence of our amazing lecturer James Harvey.
Slides and signing were the method of the class for a beginner’s course in SASL (South African Sign Language). 45 minutes of silent but animated class propelled me into a whole new world, the world of sign language, and gave me a window into the rich and expressive language and culture of South Africa’s (and the world’s) Deaf community.
Today was our final class, which included a test, and although I am sure I got some stuff wrong, I was pretty proud of how much I actually knew, and have learnt to delight in. I was properly sad to leave.
My vocab is limited and my understanding of SASL grammar is sketchy, but I am head over heels in love with SASL. Expressive, poetic, lyrical, funny and rude, SASL has a unique flavour and quality, completely shifting the notion of language and communication.
Thank you James, classmates and UCT. I cannot recommend this course enough.
Here is a taste of it.