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Mr Braam Jordaan

The Order of the Baobab in

Mr Braam Jordaan Awarded for:
His brilliant efforts at raising awareness on the importance of Sign Language and the human rights of hearing-impaired people around the world through his colourful spectrum of films and books.
Mr Braam Jordaan was born profoundly deaf to deaf parents in Benoni, South Africa. With over 30 major international awards under his belt for film and animation work, he advocates tirelessly to promote Sign Language and human rights for hearing-impaired people around the world through his colourful spectrum of work.

He is best known for his enchanting animation entitled, The Rubbish Monster, which garnered no less than 12 awards internationally.

Jordaan has published three children’s books with Cambridge University Press. While he consistently inspires others through his involvement in the deaf community, where he campaigns for better education and the wider use of Sign Language, and the high standards he sets in his work, he draws inspiration from the very community he is a part of.

He became a representative of the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD), an international organisation that represents 70 million deaf people worldwide. Between 2011 and 2015, he was a board member of the Youth Section of the WFD. He delivered a statement about the right to an education in Sign Language at the United Nations (UN) in New York City.

He works with the UN and is a former council member of the UN Children’s Fund Global Partnership on Children with Disabilities. Uplifting the communities both through his advocacy and his visual and creative artistry, portraying strong messages of hope and happiness is a true reflection of the cultural pride he inherited as a deaf person.

Jordaan is a global citizen who has lived and worked in many countries, and became assimilated to many different cultures and languages.

In addition to Sign Language, he can also speak nine other languages, which makes him an incredible ambassador for multilingualism around the world.

He has provided leadership training at workshops hosted by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) around the world with participants from different countries including South Africa, Kenya, Venezuela, Hong Kong, United States of America, Norway, Japan, Philippines and Mongolia. He has also contributed to numerous local and international newspapers and magazines about human rights and the UNCRPD.

All of his film projects are revolutionary in the portrayal of deaf individuals as fully human, without any special attention drawn to the fact of their deafness. This sense of deaf-as-normal, though, is made more meaningful when coupled with the sophisticated works of Jordaan, whose virtuoso talent is an essential feature in the underlying message of his film works.

According to him, hearing-impaired people are not defined by loss, but in the case of visual and spatial aptitudes, they may be defined by gain. His talents and achievements are clear evidence that he does not ‘suffer from hearing loss’ but instead flourishes as a result of ‘deaf gain’.