The dark arts of java brewed just right have become the unexpected conversation starters for a deaf barista and his customers.
Coffee wasn't something Vuyani Ntantiso gave much thought to. But then, just over a year ago, the bitter dark brew became something else in his life - a delicious opportunity to become a barista.
Ntantiso jumped at the chance to be trained and to run the coffee stand at Wits University's Centre for Deaf Studies' coffee shop, Chatterhands.
"I didn't even think about coffee at the point, I was just so excited," he signs as Aisha Lasania, a volunteer and intern at the centre, interprets.
Ntantiso lost his hearing at 15. Now in his 30s, he is a father to two young hearing children and knows the difficulty of navigating an ableist world that's filled with stigma, blind spots and arrogant ignorance of disability. It's a reality that has kept him on society's margins. He slipped off the radar of mainstream education and with it his work opportunities became hemmed in.
Vuyani Ntantiso, who lost his hearing as a teenager, has been able to explore a new career path now that he's become a...