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the humble beginnings of Kutlwanong School for the Deaf in 1946.

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History of sign language education

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SASL Explanation


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Education of illiterate Deaf people started almost 100 years ago when an Anglican priest, Rev. Arthur William Blaxall, relocated from London to South Africa in 1923. After Rev. Blaxall found an abandoned deaf-blind baby on his doorstep, he became involved in the welfare of deaf and blind people in Johannesburg. These actions lead to the established of the Deaf Federation of South Africa in 1929. The inability to read or write introduced the era of education for Deaf people, where the early education consisted of finger-spelling, writing, and arithmetic offered in a house in Sophia Town rented by Rev. Blaxall. These early efforts lead to the establishment of Kutlwanong School, the first school for Black Deaf learners at Wilgespruit near Johannesburg in 1944. Due to the Group Areas Act, Kutlwanong School relocated from Wilgespruit to the farm Kookfontein near Rustenburg where it is currently situated. The majority of schools for the Deaf that are now situated all over South Africa developed from Kutlwanong School for the Deaf. The new political dispensation of South Africa in 1994 ended the era of isolation for Black Deaf learners with the establishment of the Development Institute for the Deaf and Blind on 19 September 1994 by the governing body of Kutlwanong School for the Deaf.

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