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Current Awareness 2020: September

What's happening in South Africa

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

South Africa: Literacy rate from 2007 to 2015, total and by gender

As of 2015, South Africa's total literacy rate was around 94.37 percent, which means almost 95 percent of all South Africans could read and write. The literacy rate measures the percentage of people aged 15 and above who can read and write.

The Literacy Crisis - help2read

The majority of primary schools in South Africa are severely under resourced. Two or three books are shared between an entire classroom of learners, while writing utensils and literacy resources are scarce. 

Help2read believes literacy at the primary school level is the most cost-effective investment in the fight against poverty and poor educational achievement in South Africa. Their literacy intervention programmes are run in primary schools, and provide children who struggle to read with one-on-one attention from a volunteer

Image: read to change the world

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 September

International Literacy Day – 8 Sep


For over 40 years now, UNESCO has been celebrating International Literacy Day by reminding the international community that literacy is a human right and the foundation of all learning.

International Day of Democracy - 15 Sep

As the world confronts COVID-19, democracy is crucial in ensuring the free flow of information, participation in decision-making and accountability for the response to the pandemic” - UN Secretary-General António Guterres

International Day of Peace – 21 Sep

2020 Theme: Shaping Peace Together. Celebrate the day by spreading compassion, kindness and hope in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, so that we can shape peace together.

World Rhino Day – 22 Sep 

The day celebrates Rhinoceroses and generates awareness of issues regarding their well-being. In recent years, rhinos have been threatened by poaching, urbanization and pollution. World Rhino Day was first planned by World Wildlife Fund-South Africa in 2010.

Join the conversation: #WorldRhinoDay

15 Incredible Facts About Rhinos

International Day of Sign Languages – 23 Sep

The International Day of Sign Languages celebrates and promotes the use of Sign Languages. According to the United Nations, there are nearly 72 million deaf people around the globe, 80% of these people live in developing countries. In 2020, the World Federation of the Deaf is issuing a Global Leaders ChallengeThis challenge aims to promote the use of sign languages by local, national, and global leaders in partnership with national associations of deaf people in each country.

Heritage Day – 24 Sep 

Heritage Day celebrates and recognises the diverse cultures that make up South Africa, and encompasses aspects such as language, history, expression, food, wildlife and land.

Until 1995, the day was known as Shaka Day but was renamed to Heritage Day under the post-apartheid government.

Join the coversation on #heritageday2020

World Tourism Day – 27 Sep

UNWTO has designated 2020 as the Year of Tourism and Rural Development. Tourism is a lifeline for many rural communities, most notably in the developing world. To help both governments and the private sector mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on tourism and to drive the sector’s recovery, UNWTO has made available Recommendations for Action and Guidelines to Restart Tourism.

Join the coversation on #WorldTourismDay

In the media

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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

Hart, G. (1999) ‘Information Literacy Education in Disadvantaged Schools: A Case Study of Project Work at a Primary School in South AfricaSchool Libraries Worldwide, 5(1), pp. 78–96.

Background Changes in education in South Africa since 1994 signal a more favorable climate for information literacy education.

Provision, acquisition and culture: literacy research in South AfricaInternational Journal of Educational Development15(4), pp.449-460.

It is hard to overdramatise the impact of recent political changes in South Africa: The seemingly relentless slide into racial polarisation and civil war that was South Africa's expected future has been unexpectedly checked …

Prinsloo, M. and Kell, C., 1997. Moving targets: A located perspective on literacy policy in South AfricaLiteracy and numeracy studies7(2), pp.83-102.

It is estimated that about 15 million Black adults (over one third of the population) are illiterate... The lack of access to basic education, including literacy and numeracy, has consigned millions of our people to silence and marginalisation …