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While children around the country were settling into school year 2018, the South African Human Rights Commission released a devastating report on the poor quality of education available to deaf people in South Africa. The report details the disregard for the education and lives of deaf children. It is, sadly, an all too familiar story — I attended special schools for deaf people in two provinces. The commission painfully documents "systemic" failures to comply with basic safety regulations, leading to three deaf girls being burned to death in a hostel in the North West in August 2015. There were 23 children injured when they jumped from the first floor of the hostel to escape the fire. The doors to their hostel had been locked — as though the pupils were prisoners — apparently because of the absence of after-hours care. The report says that this was not the first such incident. This incident should be understood as the consequence of a nationwide, system-wide and daily neglect of de...

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