Deaf cultures and Sign Languages of the world: Africa

Created 10 April 2000, links updated monthly with the help of LinkAlarm.

Benin flag Namibian flag Botswanan flag David Bar-Tzur Ivory Coast flag national flags South African flag

map of  Africa

Flag: World flag database.
Map: - "search" for country, then "Digital Map Graphics").

Note: A flag next to a link shows what language the website is in. If it is followed by this icon: (video camera: This links to a video), it is a video in that spoken language. A flag followed by Sign Language iconmeans it is in the sign language of that country. globe (international icon)Sign Language iconmeans there is International Gesture.

Books on deafness Deaf and social services Deafblind Deaf culture Deaf education & youth
Deaf history and current events Deaf oppression & liberation Dictionaries for Sign Languages in Africa Organizations Periodicals
Religion & Deafness Sign Languages in Africa

Books on deafness

Publications and presentations by KAMEI Nobutaka - Books.

Deaf and social services

Surd'África. África é o continente mais pobre do mundo. As necessidades são imensas e a todos os níveis. A Surd’Universo quis saber como vivem os surdos em África. Descobriu que vários países africanos têm sido apoiados por países desenvolvidos. Estes apoios têm o objectivo de criar as estruturas necessárias para o desenvolvimento autónomo das Comunidades Surdas nacionais.


Deaf culture

Deaf African Suudies.

International Bibliography of Sign Language - Africa.

Deaf education & youth

Andrew Foster - Father of Deaf African education.

Deaf Education & Arts for African Families. In 2002, an American volunteer named Lisa Zahra moved to Africa, an undertaking which was contingent upon her finding her own funding for airfare, lodging, and food. Utilizing 13 years of experience as an Interpreter for the Deaf, she taught Sign Language, English, History, and other educational basics to a community of Deaf children living in poverty-stricken Monze, Zambia. Within weeks of her arrival to Southern Africa, she realized that her role would go far beyond that of a simple educator.

Miles, S. (1998, June 8). Partnership with disabled people, parents and the community: Lessons from Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) in Southern Africa. This paper draws upon examples of where parents, disabled people, CBR workers and pre-school teachers are taking the lead in developing innovative approaches to the education of disabled children. This has led to a better use of scarce resources and the development of a more relevant, inclusive and practical curriculum for disabled children. Community participation is considered to be essential for this kind of sustainable and appropriate change to take place. Respect for indigenous beliefs and practices ensures that the best aspects of customary and formal education are drawn upon so that disabled children have access to a more appropriate education.


Deaf history and current events

Kamei, N. (2006, December 25). History of Deaf people and sign languages in Africa: Fieldwork in the "kingdom" derived from Andrew J. Foster. Tokyo: Akashi Shoten Co., Ltd. 月刊言語』書評で紹介 (2007年6月号) 毎日新聞全国版の書評で紹介 (2007/02/18) 『アフリカのろう者と手話の歴史』刊行 (2006/12/25)

Miles, M. (2005). Deaf people living and communication in African histories, c. 960s - 1960s. There is strong documentary evidence that deaf or hearing impaired men and women, girls and boys, did occupy social space and took roles across the full spectrum of life throughout Africa in earlier centuries, living lives like everyone else and also having some different experiences. Traces and signs of deaf people appear in many sorts of historical document, such as travellers' accounts, legal and genealogical records, government, institutional and missionary archives, linguistic studies, literature, folklore, religious narrative, mime, dance and drama. Many of their experiences have involved severe economic poverty and adversity, stigmatising attitudes and exclusionary practices; yet this has not been the norm everywhere in Africa, and many deaf people have shown great resilience, perseverance, humour and ingenuity in their dealings and communications with the non-deaf world.

Deaf oppression & liberation

Miles, S. (1998, June 9). Engaging with the Disability Rights Movement... The Experience of Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) in Southern Africa. It is argued in this paper that in order not to repeat the mistakes of Institution Based Rehabilitation (IBR) in the community the implementers of CBR programmes should work closely with disabled people and their organisations. Mutually supportive relationships have developed between CBR programmes and Disabled People's Organisations (DPO) in southern Africa and attention has been paid to the inevitable tensions and conflicting interests between rehabilitation workers, parents of disabled children and disabled adults and their organisations. Examples are cited of the transition from a service provision approach to one of empowerment and a commitment to engage with the disability movement. The involvement of disabled adults in the design and implementation of CBR programmes has resulted in a clearer understanding of disability as a development issue. Poverty alleviation and the challenging of negative attitudes

Ojile, E. O. (2000). Echoing the voices of the marginalised/or excluded in developing African countries.

Dictionaries for Sign Languages in Africa

Kamei, N. Publication and presentations - Dictionary.


Scroll down to "7) Interview : Moncef Ezzedine". Je suis membre fondateur de l’Association « Voix Du Sourd de Tunisie » créée en 1983 et j’en suis le secrétaire général. J’en ai été le président en 1991. J’ai également été membre fondateur de la Fédération Sportive des Sourds de Tunisie en 1987. Je travaille également comme journaliste à l’édition nationale du journal télévisé diffusé quotidiennement sur tout le territoire Tunisien.

stained glass ballSense International - East Africa.


World Deaf directory - Africa.


stained glass ballCenter for International Rehabilitation Research Information and Exchange: Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

stained glass ballPublications and presentations by KAMEI Nobutaka

Articles and the thesis. Newsletter.

Religion & Deafness

stained glass ballChristliche Gehörlosen Afrika Mission e. V. ist ein überkonfessionelles Glaubenswerk. Sie sieht es als Gottes Auftrag an, den Gehörlosen in Afrika und insbesondere in der Demokratischen Republik Kongo zu helfen. Gehörlose und hörende Christen in Deutschland unterstützen diese Arbeit mit besten Kräften nach dem Motto: Gehörlose helfen Gehörlosen!

Sign Languages in Africa

stained glass ballInternational Bibliography of Sign Language - African Sign Languages.

stained glass ballKamei, N.

golden marble bullet(2006). The Birth of Langue des Signes Franco-Africaine: Creole ASL in West and Central French-speaking Africa. Langue des Signes Franco-Africaine (LSFA) is a generic term for sign languages widely used among the Deaf in French-speaking West and Central Africa with two distinctcharacteristics, loan signs from ASL and an influence based on spoken/written French. Inshort, LSFA can be defined as a generic term for creole sign languages consisting of ASL and French in Africa.

golden marble bullet(2006, December 25). History of Deaf people and sign languages in Africa: Fieldwork in the "kingdom" derived from Andrew J. Foster. Tokyo: Akashi Shoten Co., Ltd. 月刊言語』書評で紹介 (2007年6月号) 毎日新聞全国版の書評で紹介 (2007/02/18)『アフリカのろう者と手話の歴史』刊行 (2006/12/25) (2008, January 21). Uniform sign language planned for Africa « Sociolingo’s Africa.

stained glass ballWikipedia. List of sign languages. See "Africa." There are at least 25 sign languages in Africa, according to researcher Nobutaka Kamei. Some have distributions that are completely independent of those of African spoken languages. At least 13 foreign sign languages, mainly from Europe and America, have been introduced to at least 27 African nations; some of the 23 sign languages documented by Kamei have originated with or been influenced by them.