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AppDate: MTN music track targets the deaf

In his app roundup, SEAN BACHER highlights DefBars, The Answer Series, AppVenture, hApp-e-tax VAT app and Motomatch.


Deafness is one of the largest prevailing disabilities in South Africa, with more than four million people living with a hearing challenge. 

With this in mind, MTN recently developed DefBars, a bespoke music track using SASL (South African Sign Language) for the hard-of-hearing and/or deaf community. Working with SA rapper The LazarusMan, who specifically learned sign language for the project, the aim of the track is to increase awareness of SASL and to promote the learning of the language among the hearing community.

The lyrics are all signed and can only be understood if one knows SASL or is prepared to learn the basics.

The track was mastered by Hey Papa Legend to ensure that the vibration within it can be “heard” by deaf South Africans. The music video was filmed with the supervision of St Vincent’s School for the Deaf to ensure that all the signs were visible and understood.

While the track was well-received, there was an influx of positive criticism from within the deaf community.  MTN thus moved on to develop phase two of Defbars – a remix of the track with Glen: The Rapper, an up-and-coming rapper from within the deaf community, who put his own spin on its presentation.

The remixed track highlights the subtle differences between a hearing person’s interpretation of SASL and how a hard-of-hearing person would interpret the hand gestures.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: Free to view to

Stockists: The music videos can be viewed here:

Visit the next page to read about The Answer Series app for education, an app that allows users to manage their money regardless of their bank, the hApp-e-tax app for VAT, and an app that handles car buying and selling.

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