Skip to Main Content

Current Awareness 2020: March

What's happening in South Africa

Covid-19 Open Access Information

Peer-reviewed scholarly research is required to eliminate uncertainty and untruths during crisis times such as what we are experiencing with the COVID-19 virus outbreak in the world. Most of our scholarly publishers made their available peer-reviewed research on the corona virus and specifically the COVID-19 virus available open and for free for all to read.

Links to the available scholarly publishers web sites are now available from the Library’s E-Resources web page under a dedicated tab.  See screen capture below. This list will be updated as new scholarly web sites become available. Publishers will also continue to update their respective web sites with new published research.

Note that this list is for scholarly peer-reviewed research only.

What is current awareness

Current awareness is the term used to describe staying informed by keeping up to date with the latest publications, research and news in your field.

The perspective of current awareness is the present and the forthcoming, as opposed to the retrospective. 

Current awareness ranges from looking for information on specific topics on a regular basis (and this usually involves the assistance of your Personal Librarian to help you set up a search profile matched to your research interests) to embracing a wider, more general, and cross-disciplinary view that brings an element of serendipity into your search for the latest information.

Informally, researchers remain alert in all contexts for useful information and insights that will inform their daily practice, their research, and spark off innovative and creative ideas for new avenues of research.

Website of the month

World Health Organization's page on Coronavirus Disease

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.  

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. 

Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.


About the monthly awareness page

The year is marked with many special days, weeks, and months dedicated and devoted to raising awareness about important issues.

This monthly post, compiled by the Information Search Librarians Team, will note special dates and themes, and draw your attention to possibly interesting cross-disciplinary topical references intended to inform and to inspire ideas for research.

Selected noteworthy days in March

Human Rights Month 2020

Poster of human rights day with colourful arms displaying words like peace, hope, dignity, rule of law, prosperity and justice


21 March 2020

Human Rights Day 

Human Rights Day in South Africa is historically linked with 21 March 1960, and the events of Sharpeville. On that day 69 people died and 180 were wounded when police fired on a peaceful crowd that had gathered in protest against the Pass laws. This day marked an affirmation by ordinary people, rising in unison to proclaim their rights. It became an iconic date in our country’s history that today we commemorate as Human Rights Day as a reminder of our rights and the cost paid for our treasured human rights.

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2020

The UN General Assembly resolution 2142 (XXI) (link is external), adopted on 26 October 1966, proclaimed 21 March as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to be commemorated annually. On that day, in 1960, police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, against the apartheid "pass laws". Proclaiming the Day in 1966 which signifies the struggle to end the policy of apartheid in South Africa, the General Assembly called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination.

The struggle against racial discrimination is a central element of UNESCO's work to build peace in the minds of men and women, through education for tolerance, the rejection of racist stereotypes that may persist in culture or in the media.

Other important dates:

1 -31 March

TB Awareness Month 2020

TB Day on 24 March commemorates the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch astounded the scientific community by announcing that he had discovered the cause of tuberculosis, the TB bacillus. 
TB causes thousands of deaths every year in South Africa and the rest of the world.

8 - 14 March 2020

World Glaucoma Week 2020

World Glaucoma Week is a joint initiative between the World Glaucoma Association and the World Glaucoma Patient Association and has had a highly successful run for the past 10 years.

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that cause progressive damage of the optic nerve at the point where it leaves the eye to carry visual information to the brain. There is no cure for glaucoma as yet, and vision loss is irreversible. However medication or surgery (traditional or laser) can halt or slow-down any further vision loss. Therefore early detection is essential to limiting visual impairment and preventing the progression towards severe visual handicap or blindness. Your eye-care professional can detect glaucoma in its early stages and advise you on the best course of action.

If left untreated, most types of glaucoma progress (without warning nor obvious symptoms to the patient) towards gradually worsening visual damage and may lead to blindness. Once incurred, visual damage is mostly irreversible, and this has led to glaucoma being described as the "silent blinding disease" or the "sneak thief of sight". The most common types of adult-onset glaucoma are Primary Open Angle Glaucoma (POAG) a form most frequently encountered in patients of Caucasian and African ancestry and Angle-Closure Glaucoma (ACG), which is the more common in patients of Asian ancestry.

15 March 2020

World Consumer Rights Day 

World Consumer Rights Day is our chance to deliver real impact for consumers and remind the world about the importance of observing and enforcing consumer rights.

We will have a range of social media activities you can take part in for the day. You can join our call for trusted smart products by using the #BetterDigitalWorld hashtag.

16 -  22 March 2020

National Water Week

This annual event focuses public attention on the importance of water, one of South Africa's most limited resources. 

The Department of Water and Sanitation celebrates Water Week by urging everyone to use water sparingly to ensure Water For All.

21 March 2020

World Poetry Day 2020

One of the main objectives of the Day is to support linguistic diversity through poetic expression and to offer endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities.

The observance of World Poetry Day is also meant to encourage a return to the oral tradition of poetry recitals, to promote the teaching of poetry, to restore a dialogue between poetry and the other arts such as theatre, dance, music and painting, and to support small publishers and create an attractive image of poetry in the media, so that the art of poetry will no longer be considered an outdated form of art, but one which enables society as a whole to regain and assert its identity.

25 March 2020

International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade 2020

The day honours and remembers those who suffered and died as a consequence of the transatlantic slave trade, which has been called "the worst violation of human rights in history", in which over 400 years more than 15 million men, women and children were the victims.

The transatlantic slave trade, often known as the triangular trade, connected the economies of three continents. It is estimated that between 15 to 20 million people, men, women and children, were deported from their homes and sold as slaves in the different slave trading systems.

The yearly remembrance serves not only as an opportunity to reflect on those that suffered and perished at the hands of slavery, but also as an occasion to raise awareness to the world’s youth about the dangers of racism and prejudice.

In the media

Loading ...


Should you wish to read Current Awareness guides of previous years, please visit the archive:






Looking for upcoming conferences?

If you are looking for forthcoming conferences, the following websites are helpful:

Golden oldies

The apartheid policies of the union of South Africa and the United Nations Organization

J. S. Bains

The Indian Journal of Political Science, Vol. 22, No. 4 (1961), pp. 353-361

Rights Talk, Wrong Comparison: Trafficking and Transatlantic Slavery

Julia O'Connell Davidson

Social and Economic Studies, Vol. 65, No. 4, Countering Human Trafficking (December 2016), pp. 109-112

Hunting for Rents: The Economics of Slaving in Pre-Colonial Africa
E. W. Evans, David Richardson
The Economic History Review, New Series, Vol. 48, No. 4 (Nov., 1995), pp. 665-686
In 1974 Thomas and Bean argued that the slave trade from Africa was similar to an ocean fishery, with profits being dissipated by unrestricted entry into the trade. This article questions the appropriateness of common property resource models to slaving and suggests, instead, that slaving generated economic rents within Africa. Invoking recent theory on rent-seeking behaviour, it goes onto argue that slaving was subject to political influence and regulation, with most of the profits from it being appropriated by the socio-political elites of the African states involved.