I decided to go play soccer with Sizwesethu, but when I arrived there, there were many people on the soccer field. That made me a bit nervous because I wasn’t one for crowds. At that moment Sfiso came and stood next to me and said, “Sho mfethu, woza madala, woza sizodlala, ey nawe ufana njengo mabunda yazi.”

His words got stuck in my head and played them on replay. I then started playing like Mabunda to impress the people who were watching the game. Our first game against Tahiti, their team members looked more fit and stronger than we did. They played well together and had a good team spirit unlike my team. I started playing with the same spirit they did, which improved my mood.

Six minutes into the game no one had scored a goal yet. I was playing the best game I could but felt intimidated when I was facing a tall yellow-bone guy after Mluda passed the ball to me. I felt the weight of my entire team on my shoulders as I dribbled the ball passed the yellow-bone guy and scored my first goal of the match.

The supporters of Tahiti started yelling at the guy saying that he let me score on purpose. When he started making signs with his hands, I realised that he was deaf. The feeling of victory I felt soon evaporated because I felt bad for the disabled guy. We continued playing even though no one understood what he was trying to say.

The spectators wanted the deaf guy off the field, but what none of them realised was that he was human too and that sports is a win and lose game. Everyone makes mistakes. I faced him again as I headed for the scoring net battling with myself the entire time. Kube azange ngikore yazi, I said to myself.

I eventually scored another goal and regretted doing so when I saw the expression on the deaf guy’s face. The lesson that I learned that day was that I had to make it my duty to learn sign language. What an experience that was.


Tell us what you think: Why do you think we learn other languages but sometimes neglect to learn sign language?