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Stepping up to the task

- Wits University

Juliet Ndlovu, an Operations Administrative Assistant, is adding sign language to her skills so that she can converse with colleagues.

Juliet Ndlovu, Operations Administrative Assistant: Cleaning Parktown Residences

Ndlovu's role is to support the cleaning and hygiene teams that deliver services at seven student residences at Wits Parktown campuses.

She joined the Services Department in 2017 and ensures the smooth running of day-to-day operations, effective communication between teams, and overall efficiency. These teams are among the top performers within Services and constantly receive high ratings in the annual customer satisfaction surveys.

As part of a diverse team which includes Deaf employees, Ndlovu has taken it upon herself to learn sign languages. Currently, she is in her second year of studying South African Sign Language, which also happens to be her final year. Her motivation for studying sign language stems from her desire to communicate effectively with colleagues who use sign language as their primary means of communication.

Her studies at the Wits Language School are financed through a staff bursary.

She is naturally passionate about languages but admits that studying sign language has been both interesting and challenging. She faces difficulties at times, especially in remembering signs and alphabets, but she is dedicated to improving through consistent practice. Fortunately, she receives support from her workplace, and her colleagues.

Her ultimate goal in embarking on this journey is to foster a welcoming and inclusive environment. She believes that mastering sign language not only facilitates communication but also contributes to creating a healthier workplace culture. She emphasises the importance of attentive listening and regular practice, as these are key factors in becoming proficient in sign language. During her leisure time, Ndlovu enjoys bowling with her family and watching movies.