My television journey with Deaf people started almost by chance. At the time, in 1993, I was freelancing at the SABC as an assistant-producer, just having returned from backpacking the the USA. I went to the office of my producer and walked in on a conversation they were having about starting a weekly magazine programme for Deaf people. I listened in, asked what I went there to ask, went back to my office, sat down, got up from my chair, walked straight back and said “Mine! Give it to me. I’ll do it.” Ann said, “But you haven’t directed before” and I said “I’ll learn, give me a chance”. And she did. I’ll forever be grateful to her.
One of my first daunting tasks, even before my show went on air, was to direct a South African contribution for a Christmas Special broadcast by the BBC. With an interpreter glued to my arm, I directed the filming of a Deaf choir signing Christmas Carols and it came out beautifully.
Sign Hear! went on air in January of 1994.
We all have something we’re really proud of in life. When the broadcast of the 1994 elections started, I realised that Deaf people were excluded. I went to the News Room, spoke to the person in charge and after a bit of backwards and forwards, the news bulletins as well as the inauguration of President Nelson Mandela were signed. And to this day, the main news bulletins are signed and Deaf people are informed in their first language.
In case you were wondering - Deaf with a capital D refers to the Deaf culture. If you are Deaf, Sign Language is your first language.
A year later, in 1995, Talking Hands was registered and I was commissioned by the SABC to produce Shakies, a programme for Deaf children. What a wonderful wonderful rewarding show this was - I could combine my love for working with children, being creative and making a difference.
I had (and still have) a full and blessed career. I’ve worked in entertainment, education, business, sport, produced corporate videos and a mini-documentary. I worked as a production manager on the 1995 Rugby World Cup, 2003 Cricket World Cup and for ESPN America on the 2010 Soccer World Cup. I was also a production manager for ESPN India on the first three IPL matches, two in India and one in South Africa.
I train. I love training. I love the light-bulb moments.
My bucket list for the future? To get crowdfunding to produce more videos to empower hearing people to communicate with Deaf people as well as to produce life skills videos for Deaf people.
“Life skills for everyone”. My life purpose and mission is to train and empower others, one skill at a time.
It’s on my wish list that my lyrics will be set to music and come alive in notes, key strokes, drum beats and voices.