In an act of pure intelligence and innovation, a South African inventor, Lucky Netshidzati, has created smart gloves which have the capability of turning South African sign language into voice an text. He was born to deaf parents and spent a significant part of his life trying bridge the communication divide between himself and his parents, and with the deaf community at large.
The difficulties of not being able to communicate with his parents spurred him into meaningful action. When he was young, he was sent to live with his grandmother because of not being able to communicate with his parents. He was born and raised in a rural village outside Thohoyandou in Limpopo.
The smart gloves can turn sign language into voice and text through the use of sensors and an application. While a similar device has been created in Kenya, Lucky asserts that his device is better as it is more advanced and focuses specifically on South African sign language, which makes it easy for users.
"Both my parents are deaf, I had to be raised by my granny because I couldn't communicate with my parents," he said. "I couldn't understand what was happening when I was young... I had a lot of questions."
"A deaf person wears the gloves. When they sign in South African sign language, it translates sign language into voice. It creates a real-time communication between deaf people and hearing people."
Lucky Netshidzati is the CEO and co-founder of Rudzambilu Holdings. He is at the end of his research and development stage and is now working to raise the adequate finances necessary to get the glove invention to the commercial phase.
Africa needs more and more of these inventions to help those who have hearing difficulties. It would be a victory if such inventions are tailored for specific communities for ease of use.
Header image credit - Limpompo Mirror