South Africa commemorates National Disability Rights Awareness Month annually between 3 November to 3 December.
3 December is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, and is also commemorated as National Disability Rights Awareness Day.
Disability is the consequence of an impairment that may be physical, cognitive, mental, sensory, emotional, developmental, or some combination of these. A disability may be present from birth, or occur during a person’s lifetime.
Census 2011 revealed that the national disability prevalence rate is 7,5 percent in South Africa. The report further indicated that disability is more prevalent among females compared to males.
The Department of Social Development is responsible for driving the government’s equity, equality and empowerment agenda in terms of those living with disabilities.
Disability Rights Awareness Month (DRAM) provides South Africa with an opportunity to:
- Inspire hope and confidence in the ability of South Africans and the state machinery to work together in addressing the common challenges facing persons with disabilities and society in general;
- Mobilise persons with disabilities around the gains made in protecting, promoting and upholding the rights of persons with disabilities since the adoption of the Freedom Charter 60 years ago and 21 years of democracy;
- Reach out to the diversity within the disability sector, and acknowledging that all human and socio-economic rights should be equally enjoyed by all persons with disabilities, irrespective of race, gender, age, sexual orientation, impairment, socio-economic status, educational qualification level, religion, culture, employment status or nationality; and to
- Celebrate the release of the White Paper on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which advocates for measures that will hold duty-bearers accountable and strengthen recourse measures for rights-holders whose rights have been violated.
Disability Access Symbols
Access to Low Vision
This symbol may be used to indicate access for people who are blind or have low vision, including: a guided tour, a path to a nature trail or a scent garden in a park; and a tactile tour or a museum exhibition that may be touched.
The Symbol of Accessibility
The wheelchair symbol should only be used to indicate access for individuals with limited mobility, including wheelchair users. For example, the symbol is used to indicate an accessible entrance, bathroom or that a phone is lowered for wheelchair users.
Audio Description for TV, Video and Film
This service makes television, video, and film more accessible for persons who are blind or have low vision. Description of visual elements is provided by a trained Audio Describer through the Secondary Audio Program (SAP) of televisions and monitors equipped with stereo sound.
Telephone Typewriter (TTY)
Also known as text telephone (TT), or telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), TTY indicates a telephone device used with the telephone (and the phone number) for communication between deaf, hard of hearing, speech-impaired and/or hearing persons.
Volume Control Telephone
This symbol indicates the location of telephones that have handsets with amplified sound and/or adjustable volume controls.
Sign Language Interpretation
The symbol indicates that Sign Language Interpretation is provided for a lecture, tour, performance, conference or other program.
Live Audio Description
A service for people who are blind or have low vision that makes the performing and visual arts more accessible. A trained Audio Describer offers live commentary or narration (via headphones and a small transmitter) consisting of concise, objective descriptions of visual elements: for example, a theater performance or a visual arts exhibition at a museum.
Access for Hearing Loss
This is the International Symbol of Access for Hearing Loss. Such systems typically transmit sound via hearing aids or headsets. They include infrared, loop and FM systems. Portable devices may be available from the same audiovisual equipment suppliers that service conferences and meetings.
The symbol for large print is ‘Large Print’ printed in 18 Point or larger text. In addition to indicating that large print versions of books, pamphlets, you may use the symbol on conference or membership forms to indicate that print materials may be provided in large print. Sans serif or modified serif print with good contrast is highly recommended.
The Information Symbol
The most valuable commodity of today’s society is information; to a person with a disability it is essential. For example, the symbol may be used on signage or on a floor plan to indicate the location of the information or security desk, where there is more specific information or materials concerning access accommodations and services.
This symbol indicates that a television program or videotape is closed captioned for deaf or hard of hearing persons (and others). TV sets that have a built-in or a separate decoder are equipped to display dialogue for programs that are captioned. The alternative would be open captioning, which translates dialogue and other sounds in print.
This symbol indicates that printed matter is available in Braille, including exhibition labeling, publications and signage.