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Current Awareness 2023: August

Keeping you up to date with news and events in South Africa

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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 African History Online

History of Women’s Struggle in South Africa

Women at the start of the 20th century

It is only over the last three or four decades that women's role in the history of South Africa has, belatedly, been given some recognition. Previously the history of women's political organization, their struggle for freedom from oppression, for community rights and, importantly, for gender equality, was largely ignored in history texts. Not only did most of these older books lean heavily towards white political development to the detriment of studies of the history and interaction of whites with other racial groups, but they also focused on the achievements of men (often on their military exploits or leadership ability) virtually leaving women out of South African history. More …

Database of the Month


Unisa Open

The following sites on Unisa Open contains useful information for Unisa staff.

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 August

Women's Month 2023

Every year, in August, our country marks Women’s Month, where we pay tribute to the more than 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956 in protest against the extension of Pass Laws to women.

We will celebrate this year's Women Month under the theme: “Women's Socio-Economic Rights and Empowerment: Building Back Better for Women's Improved Resilience”.

31 Jul - 4 Aug The BRICS Ministers of Communications’ Meeting 2023

Minister of the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Mondli Gungubele hosts the BRICS Ministers of Communications’ Meeting 2023

The Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, Hon. Mondli Gungubele, is hosting the BRICS Ministers of Communications Meeting, which will be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) from 31 July to 04 August 2023.

South Africa assumed the chairship of BRICS on 1 January 2023, taking over from China. As a result, the country will, from 22 to 24 August 2023, host the 15TH BRICS Summit, which is an international relations conference of the five BRICS member states: Brazil, Russia India, China and the host country, South Africa.

1 to 6 Aug National Science Week

National Science Week

Theme: Celebrating the role of basic sciences in the modern world 

National Science Week (NSW) is an annual event aiming to exhibit and communicate awareness in science. It is an initiative of the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), a countrywide celebration of science connecting various stakeholders and role players conducting science-based activities during the week, an annual celebration of the role and value of science and technology in people’s daily lives.

1 – 7 Aug World’s Breastfeeding Week

9 Aug Women's Day

Every year, in August, our country marks Women’s Month. We also pay tribute to the more than 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956 in protest against the extension of Pass Laws to women. A system meant to control women even further and reduce women to passive beings, at the mercy of men.

We will celebrate this year’s Women Month under the theme: “Women’s Socio-Economic Rights and Empowerment: Building Back Better for Women’s Improved Resilience”.  The concept of Generation Equality is a global campaign and links South Africa to global efforts to achieve gender equality by 2030.

9 Aug International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

12 Aug International Youth Day

International youth day

19 Aug World Humanitarian Day

21 Aug International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism

22 Aug International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief

23 Aug International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition

29 Aug International Day against Nuclear Tests

29 Aug - 4 Sep Arbor Week

South Africa celebrates Arbor Week in the first week of September annually. The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, as the custodian of forestry in South Africa, is responsible for the campaign.

September is also heritage month and as we celebrate Arbor Week, the department also focuses on the country’s champion trees which include some of the oldest, largest and culturally significant trees. These include the Sophia Town Oak Tree and the Sagole Baobab Tree in Limpopo, which are part of our heritage.

National Arbor Week is an opportune time to call on all South Africans to plant indigenous trees as a practical and symbolic gesture of sustainable environmental management.

31 Aug International Day for People of African Descent

31 Aug African Traditional Medicine Day

Commemoration of the African Traditional Medicine Day coincides with the date, 31 August 2000, on which the ministers of health adopted the relevant resolution at the 50th session of the World Health Organisation Regional Committee for Africa(link is external) in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

Traditional African medicine is a holistic discipline involving the use of indigenous herbalism combined with aspects of African spirituality.

About 80% of Africa's population relies on traditional medicine for their basic health needs. In some cases traditional medicine is the only healthcare service available, accessible and affordable to many people on the continent. In this case the significant contribution of traditional medicine as a major provider of healthcare services in Africa cannot be underestimated.

The National Department of Health recognises that there is an entrenched historical bias towards Western/allopathic healthcare that has a long history.


In the media

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Golden oldie

TitlePromoting Gender Equality and Women Empowerment in the African Continental Free Trade Area: Lessons from SADC

AuthorClayton Hazvinei Vhumbunu

Source: Alternation Vol. 29, No. 2, pp 11-43

Published Online1 Nov 2022


The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which has been signed by 54 out of the 55 African countries, seeks to create a single continental market for goods and services and facilitate the free movement of people on the continent thereby enhancing the competitiveness of intra-African trade and boosting intra-African trade. This will generate employment and improve the welfare of mostly young men and women on the continent. However, whilst the Agreement Establishing the AfCFTA, under Article 3 (e), emphasizes that one of the general objectives of the AfCFTA is to promote gender equality, experiences in other African Regional Economic Communities (RECs) FTAs have proven that gender and gender equality have not been adequately mainstreamed in implementing Free Trade Areas which has resulted in gender inequalities in international trade and commerce. As a result of this, the majority of women have been left marginalized in trade and faced with serious challenges in accessing opportunities created by regional trade agreements. This paper seeks to examine the potential of the AfCFTA to promote gender equality and women empowerment in Africa given the fact that the empowerment of women is a critical component of gender equality. Using secondary data sources, it draws from experiences of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in mainstreaming gender in regional trade agreements in order to proffer recommendations for the AfCFTA. The concepts of gender equality, gender mainstreaming and trade liberalization are utilized for conceptual analysis. Recommendations of the research are key in presenting possible options for implementing gender-sensitive measures and strategic interventions that address the differentiated implications of the AfCFTA on both men and women such that the AfCFTA delivers more transformative, inclusive and sustainable economic growth and development in Africa.

Further reading

Gender and economy in the Niger Delta : an examination of the role of women in sustaining a region in conflict

Author: Ikechukwu Umejesi

Source: HomeGender Questions Vol. 7, No. 1

Published Online:30 Nov 2019


The discourse on the structure of the economy and the drivers of growth in different African societies is underlined by patriarchy. The dominant view is often that men are at the heart of the productive and profitable sectors of the society, hence the skewed power relations and visibility of men in all organs of the society. While this framework seems to typify patriarchal societies in different African nations, it overshadows the tenacity of women in conflict-ridden societies where men focus mainly on the execution of war and combat roles rather than on the economic survival of their families and society. In the oil-rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria, years of grassroots struggle against the state and mining companies over oil wealth and the environment have shifted economic relations hitherto dominated by men, and created a platform where women have become visible participants in the economy. This paper looks at the role of women in the economy of local communities of the Niger Delta. Analyses of the decades-old conflict have often been limited to male-led military, political and environmental struggles between major actors in the conflict, with little attention paid to the role of women in the economic survival of the region. The paper uses both ethnographic and secondary data collected from Egbema community and its neighbours in the northern Niger Delta region.


Experiences of Women in Precarious Employment in South Africa's Economy

Author: Tanusha Raniga

Source: Southern African Journal of Social Work and Social Development Vol. 34, No. 1, pp 1-1801 March 2022

Published Online:1 Mar 2022


South African policy discourses about the feminisation of poverty have been dominated by the notion that poor women remain poor because they are trapped in the “second economy” disconnected from the mainstream first economy. Based on research conducted in Makhushane in rural Limpopo and in one lowincome community in Gauteng, I present compelling evidence for complex practices of reciprocity of informal economic activity and self-employment. The article examines women's agency in informal work with particular reference to the heterogeneous nature of the South African economy. This article profiles the lives of 16 single mothers who provide insights into the challenges they confront while working in the second economy. I argue that these forms of informal livelihood activities are economically invaluable and subsidiary and supplement the first economy in complex ways. By examining the lives of single mothers, this article attempts to testify to the persistence of gender inequalities and complex life choices and life chances that women confront in the second economy. This article seeks to contribute to the discourses on gender and economic development and calls for policymakers to support the livelihood strategies of women who are found at the margins of the first economy.


Women empowerment: A new agenda for socio-economic development in Saudi Arabia

Authors: Friday Okonofua and Akhere Omonkhua

Source: African Journal of Reproductive Health, Vol. 25, No. Special Edition1


Over the years, it has been recognized that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), an oil-rich country with a population of 34.3 million people, has had relatively insidious laws and practices relating to women, in part due to the strict application of the Sharia law. The 2016 World Economic Forum ranked Saudi Arabia 141st out of 144 countries in terms of gender parity1, and indeed, women were only allowed to vote in the Kingdom in 20152. However, since Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman came into office in 2017, a series of positive reforms relating to women development began to surface in the Kingdom. Most noteworthy of these reforms is the enunciation of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform program, a major part of which was devoted to increasing women’s participation in economic activities3. In consequence, several women empowerment measures were put in place, including those that relate to increased job mobility for women, prevention of sexual harassment in workplaces, pension reforms, and the enunciation of workplace rights. Within three years of the emergence of gender transformative political re-positioning in Saudi, it is gratifying to note that the World Bank ranked the country in 2020 as a top reformer in women’s rights at work4.


Looking for upcoming conferences?

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


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