My name is Gugulethu Ndlovu, but everyone calls me Gugu. I am 31 years old and I was born deaf.
I am currently an office assistant and have dreams of becoming so much more.
Growing up communicating with my mother and sister was difficult. Our way of communicating was to point to things. They would point at what they wanted me to do.
My mother was a domestic worker in Alberton and we struggled financially. My sister went to school but my mother didn’t know and was not educated enough to know where to send me to school. I knew I was different and just wanted to learn, but I couldn’t.
I sat at home doing nothing and couldn’t play with other kids when they came back from school. I longed to wear a school uniform and be a part of something. Most of my childhood life was spent in tears, I cried until I couldn’t cry any more. I haven’t cried since I learnt sign language. It has helped me to know who I am.
The first time I met another deaf person was in 2001, I was 20 years old.
That shows you how sheltered a life I lived.
Through DeafSA I found a learnership opportunity and after completing it I was employed at Timbercity as a carpenter fixing kitchens, but I struggled with signing and things were very difficult.
I heard about the Media Works ABET courses at eDeaf and thought that this would be my chance to be get an education and learn to sign, so I enrolled immediately. It was great to be with other deaf people, being educated and learning to sign and read.
Attending ABET has changed my life for the better. I am now able to read and write. I have a cell phone that I could not use before, but that has changed. I don’t have to ask my sister to read my SMS messages anymore!
I am busy with ABET Level 2 and it is hard, but I am happy because I am getting closer to reaching my goals. I want to follow a career in the building trade and focus on being an electrician.
It was only after I had learnt South African Sign Language with the help of Media Works ABET course that I found my own identity and the ability to communicate with the world around me.
Because of the ABET training I am not sheltered anymore and I can look to the future with confidence. ABET is really making a difference in my life.
~ Gugu Ndlovu
In 2015, Gugu became a permanent member of staff at eDeaf. He has also obtained his driver’s license and we are so proud of him! We know he will have a long and happy career with us.