Uganda News

The deaf are in desperate need of our attention

I was put in my place after entertaining Dr. Sam Nkiingi Lutalo (Ugandan), the first deaf African with a Ph.D. in Linguistics.

Bits of ME

They are a part of ‘us.’ I’ve always thought this to myself, and it’s why I wanted to present this remarkable guy on NBS TV’s People and Power to proclaim to the world, “They are not any “different.”

Therein lay my conundrum: how was he going to communicate? He wasn’t able to speak, but he could hear!

The answer was right in front of me, but as we’ve come to expect, we judged…

I was guilty of ignoring the sign language interpreter, as evidenced by the cover…


In a world of prevailing same feathers, a community of “quiet minority” is easily consumed by poorly prepared notions, I subsequently admitted.

I was put in my place after entertaining Dr. Sam Nkiingi Lutalo (Ugandan), the first deaf African with a Ph.D. in Linguistics.

I remember how loud the ‘silent dialogue’ was during our meeting at the Kyambogo University Faculty of Special Needs and Rehabilitation!

Dr. Lutalo’s sign language interpreter lulled me to sleep with remarks like “Mable is now “handicapped.” Despite being whispered to, it landed to my delight.

I was the only one in the group who didn’t sing. For a brief moment, I was taken aback by the unexpected ambush of feeling inferior among the people we refer to as impaired, despite the fact that their superiority was obvious.

It all boils down to ingrained views that they should lower their bar, or that they should lower theirs.

Uplifting sign language across the education curriculum as part of selected languages for study is one approach to bridge the gap between the deaf, right?

a little bit of YOU

Many of you must be reflecting on your own parts of encounters with the deaf community by this paragraph, but the flow of information is often what ticks their pride against the ‘luxuries’ of the hearing community.

Dr. Lutalo acknowledges that access to information for the hearing challenged has vastly increased since media firms were ordered to have Ugandan sign language interpreters on all television stations during news broadcasts, but maintains that this is only a snapshot of a day’s events.

“It isn’t enough; I give it a 20% rating…

All television programs should include translators so that deaf persons can get the same information as their hearing counterparts. The lack of it has an impact on deaf people’s social functioning, which exacerbates the inequity gap, he said.

According to Regulation 30 of the Uganda Communications (content) Regulations 2019, a television station operator must use sign language or subtitles for the benefit of hearing impaired people in newscasts at least once a day and in live telecasts of national events, as required by Section 21(2) (a) of the Persons with Disabilities Act 2006.

“…can someone help me comprehend this, the lady in yellow circle utilizes sign language to reach those who can’t speak and hear…,” a news viewer @Ssenyonyiderick tweeted not long ago, tagging me.

Why does she receive a smaller screen when those of us who can see, hear, and speak get practically the entire screen?”

Such a chasm amid an universe of straight lines and bends, mountains and valleys, is emblematic of the discrepancies that exist not only in classes but also in nature, which bears physical impairments.

Nonetheless, according to Dr. Lutalo, while international regulations led by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities require state parties to provide information to Persons with Disabilities in accessible formats, it does not specify the size or position of the sign language interpreter on television.

“The image of the signer should be superimposed upon the original programme and should generally appear on the right hand of the screen and occupy a space no smaller than one-sixth of the picture,” according to the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) standards for sign language on local television operators in Uganda under S. 5 (1) (x).

While some countries, such as the United Kingdom, have sign language interpreters appear in somewhat larger spaces on television and even stand, Joe Kigozi, Chief Strategist Officer, Next Media Services, claims that the picture size is apparent, UCC permits it, and we respect UCC standards.

Ibrahim Bbosa, a spokesman for the UCC, also acknowledged the commission’s awareness of recent changes in both law and technical advances, emphasizing the need to involve and advise all stakeholders in the developments, which include giving television access services beyond simply signing.

What you consider a basic requirement may be a luxury to someone else; ask everyone in your group what they want, and you’ll find that their desires are either spendthrift or frugal depending on what yours are.


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