IM this article to a friend!

May 22, 2007

Love is blind (and deaf)

From: News24 - Cape Town,South Africa - May 22, 2007

Cherice Smith, Die Burger

Cape Town - A deaf couple who first saw each other at school decades ago, and who have both since lost their sight, have brought light to their darkness by getting married.

Pierre van Zyl and Marianne du Preez, both 65, tied the knot on Saturday after a 37-year romance.

They met at the De la Bat School for the Deaf at Worcester many years ago.

"They were both deaf from childhood, but they still had sight then. Their romance began at school," explained Dominee Rocco Hough of the De la Bat congregation for the deaf at Bellville. He conducted the wedding ceremony.

However, there was no talk of marriage and their ways parted when Pierre moved to Bellville.

Meanwhile, both he and Marianne lost their sight.

But their paths crossed again when Marianne moved from Worcester to the Haven for the Deaf at Bellville two years ago.

Communicate by gesture

"The romance blossomed, and they finally took their marriage vows in church on Saturday," Hough said.

He says they've learnt to communicate by gesture.

"They take each other's hands, and form the signs that they know quite well. For concepts that don't have corresponding signs, they 'write' on each other's hands with their fingers."

Pierre and Marianne were both accompanied to the altar by their own interpreters, and the wedding vows took a little longer, Hough said.

The rehearsals were also very special, because there were many concepts that had to be explained to them, step-by-step.

Pierre and Marianne have settled in at a self-contained unit in the haven for deaf senior citizens.

© 2007 News24