Sulayman Fredericks is a 70-year-old man originally from District Six. Due to the Group Areas Act during apartheid, Mr Fredericks and his family were evicted and finally had to settle in Elsie’s River. One of six children, Mr Fredericks attended Elsie’s River High School, where he excelled at rugby. At 15 years old, while playing rugby, Mr Fredericks sustained trauma to his head which resulted in permanent loss of hearing to his left ear. After high school, Mr Fredricks trained to become a plumber which he practiced until he was 67 years old. During his working life, Mr Fredericks was exposed to noise from the machinery daily resulting in permeant trauma to his hearing. Resultant communication problems impacted on his mental health and these communication breakdowns in group conversations would cause him to leave the conversation, which created social awkwardness and affected him emotionally.
The good news, however, is that with the help from the Spirit Foundation, Mr Fredericks was able to undergo a diagnostic hearing evaluation and has now been fitted with a hearing aid. Greatly relieved with his new-found facility, Mr Fredericks is delighted with his hearing aid as it assists him to communicate more effectively in social situations, commenting, “I even brag about my hearing and can joke now!”