Mbeketeli means "Patience" in siSwati, the native language of Swaziland, and that name is true to his character. He is the youngest of 9 children, and the only Deaf person in his family. Mbeketeli was enrolled in pre-school at the Siteki School for the Deaf in 2005, at the age of 6. He did not begin grade 1 until 2010, at the age of 11, providing him time to acquire not only Swazi Sign Language, but English as well. In 2015 he completed grade 6, but after being accepted at De La Bat Skool he was formally enrolled in grade 8, skipping a grade. We made the decision for him to apply to De La Bat Skool because they have a strict age cut-off of 18 years. If Mbeketeli had remained at Siteki School for the Deaf until he completed grade 7, he would no longer be eligible for enrollment at a high school in South Africa. Mbeketeli is now entering grade 10, and had a very successful second year at De La Bat.
He was recognized as a leader among the other boys and recently represented his school in his second appearance in the Zwakala Deaf Drama Competition sponsored by Deaf TV where he won 1st place in his category; dance. You can check out his performance in the videos featured below.
Whenever Mbeketeli is home for the holidays, he paints murals around his homestead, take a look at the pictures below!
Click here to watch Mbeketeli's performance in South Africa.
Age 18, Lubombo Region, Grade 9
De La Bat Skool, Worcester, South Africa