Pretoria – Life will soon be much easier for visually impaired community radio presenter Siyabonga Mlotshwa, of Nqubeko FM, in Ladysmith.
The presenter will receive the SAnote – a locally developed portable talking computer for the blind, on Friday.
This CSIR Meraka Institute’s innovation is a multilingual, user-friendly and affordable device that is designed, developed, manufactured and distributed in South Africa. It is ready-to-use out-of-the-box, with customisable software.
The talking computer will be handed over to the presenter by Communications Deputy Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams and Telecommunications and Postal Services Deputy Minister Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize in a ceremony, on Friday, in Pretoria.
“The SAnote handover forms an integral part of the DTT stakeholder engagement and advocacy campaign; and is in this respect focusing on persons with disabilities.
“This is based on an essential benefit of the DTT migration process which is to provide services for the hard of hearing and visually impaired – through subtitles and large scripts,” the Department of Communications said on Tuesday.
The SAnote emanated from the National Accessibility Programme (NAP), conceptualised in 2003 and developed by the CSIR in partnership with a representative group of Disabled Persons’ Organisations and the Office on the Status of Disabled Persons in the Presidency.
NAP was a five-year research and development initiative aimed at addressing the marginalisation of people with disabilities from the mainstream economy and society, through the use of information and communication technology.
The CSIR invested funding for its development from the Department of Science and Technology and the then Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services.
The SAnote also features the Qfrency voices which were co-funded by the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC).
SAnote will be distributed by the South African National Council of the Blind at an introductory retail price of R7 500 (including VAT) for the first 50 devices.