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The Charity Fashion Show With Deaf Models

Deaf News: 'Deaf' fashion show gets resounding round of applause.

CAPE TOWN -- Africa News Agency: Hands shot up and voices shouted as people vied for outfits at the Solidarity through Fashion auction in Newlands, Cape Town on Saturday night.

The auction followed a fashion show held on International Day for Persons with Disabilities to create awareness about deafness and raise funds for the Deaf community.

The models were Deaf and wore Binca Smith’s Zonya D collection, which was a delightful expression of summery colours and playfulness with contemporary lines and African prints. The collection included bridal gowns.

Newly crowned Mr South Africa Habib Noorbhai was a guest.

The MC, DeafSA Western Cape provincial director Jabaar Mohamed, kept the audience entertained with witty comments that were interpreted for members of the audience who did not understand South African sign language (SASL).

After two musicians played Mohamed quipped, “I’m Deaf but I can feel the vibrations.”

“I am proud to be Deaf,” he went on, explaining that he did not ascribe to the “shame factor” that some people had towards people with disabilities, as a disability did not define one’s ability.

Prizes were announced during the lucky draw and two winners received free SASL lessons with DeafSA, while one won a two-day stay at a Radisson Blu Hotel.

The concept for the fashion show came about after a few ideas were thrown about and Smith was willing to explore the concept and work with the deaf community.

Mohamed, who started up the Silent Walk in 2012 to create more awareness about deafness, said he was passionate about the Deaf community and advancing its rights.

“There are a lot of challenges in the community” and the fashion show “was a way to create awareness and an opportunity to give back to the community and raise funds for the community”.

Mohamed told Africa News Agency (ANA), “I’ve seen a lot of hearing people do fashion shows and I have seen them run the Mr, Miss, and Mrs Deaf competitions. I felt there should be a fashion show that wasn’t a competition and continued to uplift and empower all Deaf participants afterwards, and that it should be something fun.

“There needs to be more awareness about deafness and I want to see all government departments and the private sector become more involved in deaf awareness and see that they can make a difference through the Solidarity through Fashion platform.”

It was very important to raise Deaf Awareness through such platforms as “you don’t know who is deaf or who is hearing as the audience is mixed”, he said.

Noorbhai, who can sign, told ANA that “It is fantastic you can do solidarity shows like this. It is needed across many disability spheres to raise awareness and educate people about the cause. With the Deaf community, society needs to realise that the Deaf can do anything but nothing, which means we need to trust their ability.”

Smith told ANA that at the start of the project, which took two months to come to fruition, she was nervous. “I had never worked with the Deaf community.

“It was a very humbling experience as it made me realise how lucky I am to be able to hear.”

She said she enjoyed working with the Deaf models, “they walked perfectly even though they didn’t hear the music”.

“The show was very creative and beautiful,” said Kathija Khan, a Deaf project manager who attended. “Fashion is a big world and it is good to get deaf people involved and include them in this world as it opens doors for them. Deaf people can do anything and they are perfectly capable of doing something when they are given the platform.”

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