Rural man’s innovation translates sign language into audio

Lucky Netshidzati (26) created a hand glove which translates South African sign language into voice. Photo: Ndivhuwo Mukwevho / Health-e News

LIMPOPO – Having struggled throughout his childhood to communicate with his deaf parents, Lucky Netshidzati (26) created a hand glove which translates South African sign language into voice, text, and voice-to-sign language animation to improve communication between him and his parents. 

Netshidzati’s parents were born deaf so he wasn’t able to communicate with them. It prompted him to do something to improve the situation.

Netshidzati showing Health-e his innovation. Photo: Ndivhuwo Mukwevho/ Health-e

“Growing up was difficult because both my parents are deaf and I was unable to communicate with them properly because they used sign language,” he said. “Imagine not being able to speak to your own parents because they can’t hear you or respond to what you are saying because they only use sign language and you have never been taught sign language at school?”


Born and bred in rural Tsianda, outside Thohoyandou, Netshidzati said that he was encouraged to come up with an innovation to help deaf people communicate with everyone easily, not only for his family but for others in a similar situation to his. 

“I don’t want other children to go through what I did as a child.”

Netshidzati said that when the glove sensor is connected to a mobile application on a phone, it can also be used to make phone calls. 

“I believe it will go a long way in assisting hearing-impaired people to communicate with people who can hear, without any barrier.” He said the glove can be powered by charging it electronically, or by using a battery. 

Though it is not yet out in the market, Netshidzati believes that it will go a long way in empowering people who are deaf or hard of hearing. – Health-e News.


  • Ndivhuwo Mukwevho

    Ndivhuwo Mukwevho is citizen journalist who is based in the Vhembe District of Limpopo province. He joined OurHealth in 2015 and his interests lie in investigative journalism and reporting the untold stories of disadvantaged rural communities. Ndivhuwo holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Media Studies from the University of Venda and he is currently a registered student with UNISA.

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