Jabaar Mohamed shines at SAFTAs

Accessibility With Jabaar’ TV talk show host, Jabaar Mohamed, could hardly believe it when he received news of his SAFTA nomination.

“When I got the email that I had been nominated, I was like, ‘for real? Me Jabaar, a Deaf person in the SAFTAs? Many in our society still see and treat our deafness and disability as a limit,” Mohamed told SAnews a day after being honoured with the Outstanding Person With Disability Contributor Award at the 2023 edition of the South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs) held in Midrand, Gauteng.

The SAFTAs honour and celebrate excellence, quality and innovation in South African cinema and television.

Mohamed, the Provincial Director of DeafSA Western Cape, was nominated for the award by Cape Town TV, the station that airs ‘Accessibility With Jabaar’ (previously called the ‘Disability Show’. He has been with the channel since 2018. During COVID-19, in July 2020, the show’s name was changed to ‘Accessibility With Jabaar’.

Mohamed said in all his time doing the show, he never thought he would one day be at the SAFTAs. He ventured into the TV show because he felt marginalised because of his disability.

“Imagine feeling marginalised because of a disability that you are living with. As unfair as this sounds, it is the reality for many South Africans trying to access opportunities in an environment that doesn’t cater for their special needs.

“People with disabilities constantly have to prove their capabilities to an often prejudiced and ignorant world, leaving many of them feeling that they can’t reach their full potential.

“‘Accessibility With Jabaar’ is a talk show that confronts misconceptions about ‘disabilities and the disadvantaged’ community through informative and engaging conversations so that the broader public can see the benefits of having an inclusive society,” Mohamed said.

‘Accessibility With Jabaar’ plays a role in changing the narrative of people with disabilities by highlighting powerful universal stories that make for uplifting content.

“The show plays the role of informing members of the community about opportunities and tips on not only coping with a disability but flourishing with it.

“Guests come into the studio to discuss issues pertaining to disabilities, which also features documentary inserts, where the show gets out into the field to interact with the disability community and uncover the issues that they confront in their daily lives,” Mohamed said.

Opening up views

Mohamed said ‘Accessibility With Jabaar’ is about being open minded, and educating audiences to avoid the word “shame”.

“I have been doing this from 2018 and will continue for life, where my aim is to break the barriers and open more doors… as well to train other people to be producer or TV presenter one day,” he said.

Currently, Mohamed is working as a member of the Deaf Education Task Team for the Western Cape Education Department with the DeafSA expert team, and on a committee for the Provincial Department of Health.

He is also an ambassador for the Universal Accessibility Hub. He serves on many events as Motivational Speaker, Master of Ceremonies (MC) and Guest Speaker.

Mohamed completed his BCom Public Management degree, without the South African Sign Language Interpreter (SASLI), at University of the Western Cape.

Source: South African Government News Agency