15 September 2022 | Story Gerda-Marié van Rooyen | Photo Supplied
Lisa Msiza
Lisa Nondumiso Msiza is the first Deaf person from the UFS to receive the prestigious Abe Bailey travel bursary.

Lisa Nondumiso Msiza is the first Deaf person from the UFS to receive the prestigious Abe Bailey Travel Bursary. This second-year student in Linguistics and Sign Language will visit the UK for three weeks, starting late November. Charity Morrison of the Centre for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS) will accompany her to interpret for her.

“I want to show through action that Deaf people can do anything. We have the required skills; we can read and write too – just like hearing people can. I would also like to make people aware that the UFS has the facilities to accommodate Deaf people,” says Lisa. Currently, 12 Deaf students are enrolled at this tertiary institution. 

This born Johannesburger’s passion for teaching and facilitating Sign Language is contagious. “I want to observe different businesses and programmes in the UK in order to learn how to start projects and develop myself and my community as Deaf people get limited opportunities. I want to teach people on the use, culture and history of Sign Language.” 

Lisa describes herself as a kind, understanding, and loving person. As she was born deaf, Sign Language is her home language. Her parents, however, are Zulu and Ndebele speaking. She says that, although Sign Language is different in every language, she quickly adapts and communicates in it as soon as she grasps the structure of the new language.

Being named top achiever (learner) for the 2020 matric class and being crowned in fifth position at the World Deaf Model 2021, Lisa is proof that beauty and brains can co-exist. 

“I am passionate about being a teacher, facilitator, or lecturer. I enjoy teaching others sign language so we can communicate more effectively. I love Sign Language and I am always trying to inform people on the importance of learning about Deaf people and to help others understand the nature of language and communication.” 

Her future dreams include becoming a lecturer at the UFS or to continue her studies abroad, but only to gain insight and benefit her community. “I want our country to prosper and would like to have every news bulletin interpreted for the Deaf.”

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