People-in-Country Profile

People Selector:
Print version:
Step 1 - Select a Country:   Send us your updates!
Step 2 - Select a People:  

Deaf in South Africa


Send us a photo of this people.  [1]

Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
439,000 South African Sign Language Christianity 75.24 % Unknown No No   

Deaf in South Africa

People Group Video [7]
Source:  General / OtherWatchDownload
Profile Text
Submit Profile Text:

Introduction / History
Some Deaf South Africans live in middle and upper-middle-class areas of large cities and small towns. Others maintain rural ancestral lands. Many families live in poorer townships. Most Deaf people live on social grants without jobs, either among their families or in disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds. The Deaf are quite patient with hearing people however most of them don't know any way to communicate and tend to avoid them.

A few have more education, therefore better jobs. Deaf people don't see themselves as disabled, but communicate directly and literally with Sign Language's unique structure. Only now does the national Education Department realize that the Deaf need to learn South African Sign Language to achieve more.

The first Catholic Deaf school opened about 170 years ago. But there are very few yet today who follow Christ.

The Deaf generally socialize within their Deaf culture and language group and also with other dialects. Five aspects of any Sign Language include: hand shape, position in space, palm orientation, movement and expression. Sign dialects vary, with some aspects overlapping.

The few believers can't easily grow in faith, since they don't understand written Bibles. Perhaps 60-80 percent of Deaf people follow traditional African religious practices. About 1 to 3 percent are Muslim. Because a lack of accessible education creates low reading skills, the Deaf need Bibles their hearts can understand, which is South African Sign Language.

View Deaf in all countries.

Prayer Links
Prayer Links
15 and Learning to Speak
  Submit Update:
Country: South Africa
Continent: Africa
Region: Africa, East and Southern
10/40 Window: No
Location in Country:Scattered.
(Source: Ethnologue 2016)
Submit Map:
Country Map:Political map
Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
Linguistic Map:Ethnologue language map
  Peoples [3]
Submit Update:
People Name in Country: Deaf
People Name General: Deaf
ROP3 Code: 114916
Joshua Project People ID: 19007
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 439,000
Population all Countries: 46,968,000
Least-Reached: No
Affinity Bloc: Deaf
People Cluster: Deaf
People Name General: Deaf
Ethnic Code:
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
Submit Update:
Primary Language: South African Sign Language (439,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): sfs    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
Submit Update:
Primary Religion: Christianity
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity75.24 %(Evangelical: Data not available)
Ethnic Religions13.68 % 
Hinduism1.20 % 
Islam1.73 % 
Non-Religious0.00 % 
Other / Small8.15 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.00 %
Protestant0.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic0.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Evangelicals have a larger relative representation among all who claim to be Christians.
Least-Reached: No
GSEC Status:Level 1   Less than 2% Evangelical. Some evangelical resources available, but no active church planting within past 2 years
Bible Translation Status
Submit Update:
Bible Portions: Help start a Bible Translation
New Testament: None Reported
Complete Bible: None Reported
Ministry Resources [7]
Text / Printed MatterDoor International
Ministry Activity
Register Ministry Activity:
Networking: Visit for networking possibilities.
Description: Register your ministry activity among this people group. Contact the Adopt-A-People Clearinghouse and Unleashed for the Unreached to learn about others that might be focused on this people group.
Data Notes
Data Sources

Deaf in South Africa

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Deaf     Africa, East and Southern    
      Deaf South Africa    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Deaf in South Africa          
      Religion Language  
      Christianity     South African Sign Language  
    All Religions                              

Direct link: