Where Can I Learn Sign Language In South Africa

What is a Sign Language?

Sign languages are languages that use the visual-manual modality to convey meaning, instead of spoken words.

Sign languages are expressed through manual articulation in combination with non-manual markers. Sign languages are full-fledged natural languages with their own grammar and lexicon.

Where Can I Learn Sign Language In South Africa?

South African Sign Language – Wits University.

South African Sign Language Level 1A

This course, the first of two modules at Level 1, provides an introduction to SASL to be used for general, basic communication. By the end of the course, participants will be able to:

  • Use limited SASL vocabulary but correct finger spelling and basic sign language structure.
  • Interact in SASL in a simple way, using simple phrases to describe, discuss, and ask about everyday topics, as well as topics associated with areas of immediate need (including greetings, talking about the family, occupations, daily routines, and social arrangements).
  • Ask and answer questions.
  • Engage in short conversations with a Deaf person and groups on a familiar topic using South African Sign Language (SASL) (NQF level 4, 6 credits)
  • Demonstrate the production and reception of the hand finger-spelling alphabet (NQF level 4, 4 credits)

South African Sign Language Level 1B

This course is the second module of the introductory course in SASL at Level 1 to be used for general, basic communication with signers of the language. By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Describe familiar people, places and events, holiday destinations and the weather.
  • Ask about and give personal descriptions of oneself and others, express likes and dislikes, and ask for and give directions
  • Request information and permission.
  • Conduct short personal interactions.
  • Deliver a monologue of not less than three minutes on familiar topics, such as personal information, social information, and/or general information about people and things within the person’s own experience, or specific situations or topics that have been well rehearsed.
  • Deliver a monologue to a known audience on a familiar topic using SASL (NQF level 4, 10 credits)
  • Perform everyday communicative tasks using SASL (NQF level 4, 4 credits).

South African Sign Language level 2A


This is a pre-intermediate course at Level 2A to be used in general, simple communication with signers of SASL. At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Communicate and maintain short conversations to describe events, people, and objects in simple terms and maintain communication that deals with the direct exchange of information, as well as the recounting of a signed conversation
  • Understand specific predictable information in everyday conversations on a familiar topic
  • Understand short, simplified signed monologues
  • Ask questions about a signed monologue on a familiar topic, in preparation for paraphrasing it
  • Summarise the main points of a short simple, signed text, using role shift where necessary.
  • Recount a signed conversation on a simple topic, using South African Sign Language (NQF level 5, 4 credits)
  • Paraphrase and summarise signed monologues on familiar topics using South African Sign Language (NQF level 5, 4 credits)

Entry Requirements to Learn Sign Language In South Africa

Please ensure you meet the following requirements when applying for the course: 

  • 18 years or older
  • Fluency of mother tongue language
  • Placement tests are available for applicants who have previous experience of the language. (Assessment is conducted on registration) 
  • To qualify for a progressive module, you must complete the previous module. i.e. to do module 2A, you need to have successfully completed 1B or a placement test. 

Application Process

Step 1: Complete the WLS Application Form  

Step 2: Certify a copy of your ID. 

Step 3: Email your completed Application form and certified copy of ID to wls@wits.ac.za 

Step 4: Upon receiving your invoice and confirmation of registration on the course, please send us the proof of payment.

Course Fee

Courses 1A to 3B is R8 300 (this fee is per module for 1A to 3B). 

Classes are subject to a minimum of 8 students. We reserve the right not to run a particular course in an intake if there is insufficient demand. 

Does South Africa have a sign language?

South Africa is now the fourth country in Africa to recognize sign language as an official means of communication, after Kenya, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.

What types of sign language do they use in South Africa?

In South Africa the sign language that is used is South African Sign Language. This is different to sign languages used in different countries e.g. American Sign Language is used in the United States and British Sign Language is used in England. SASL is predominantly used by Deaf people in Southern Africa.