First Sign Language-Supported Podcast Aims To Bring Listeners More Inclusive Content

Blind History series has launched the first-ever South African sign language-supported podcast. The project aims to remove the barrier to information and ultimately introduce new audiences to the world of podcasts, which is especially relevant during these uncertain times.

Blind History is a collaboration between Gareth Cliff from CliffCentral and Anthony Mederer, the MD of Taylor Blinds and Shutters. The podcast aims to bring compelling stories of the past to the deaf and hard-of-hearing community.

CliffCentral’s Greg Cohen said, ‘When we were approached by Thuli Zikalala (one of the eleven South African Translators’ Institute (SATI) accredited interpreters in South Africa) with a concept to make the medium more accessible, we decided to create South African sign language interpreted videos of our content, starting with our popular podcast series Blind History. As far as we are aware, this is a first-of-its-kind concept that we’re extremely proud of.’

Cohen said that inclusive content is important, especially in a diverse country like South Africa. ‘The easier it is for people to access content, the better. We need to embrace inclusivity and not exclusivity. This is especially true with podcasts, where the audience chooses you and you don’t target your listeners. It’s important to provide information and lessons on an equal playing field to the audience,’ Cohen added.

‘ and Taylor Blinds and Shutters are an open-minded, forward-thinking team. I value the opportunity to bridge different communities, create awareness to professional SASL interpreters, and make content more inclusive and accessible to the deaf and hard-of-hearing community,’ said Zikalala.

Blind History won a Sunday Times Gen Next Gold Award in 2019 and is now in its third season, which comprises 13 episodes. The series consists of short freestanding episodes, each about an interesting person in history. This has included Alexander the Great, the Kennedys, Caesar Augustus and King Henry VII.

‘We like to talk about our favourite people in history,’ said Gareth Cliff, Founder of and Co-founder of Blind History. ‘Some of them are favourites because they were really good people, and some because they were fascinating and evil.’

Although the production of the podcasts is sponsored by Taylor Blinds and Shutters, Blind History has indicated that is not a marketing campaign. Instead, it simply aims to share the passion of ‘these self-confessed history nerds’ with the world.

Each episode airs on CliffCentral, while the podcasts can be found on:

  • Apple Podcasts.
  • Spotify.
  • CliffCentral app.

You can find the first South African sign language podcast here, and listen to past episodes here.