By Koketso Mamabolo


World Glaucoma Week –  6 March-12 March


Awareness is key for illnesses such as glaucoma, hence World Glaucoma Week which highlights this pernicious eye disease.

“World Glaucoma Week is a unique initiative that puts a spotlight on glaucoma as the leading cause of preventable irreversible blindness worldwide. The prompt diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma can prevent needless vision impairment, however, so many are unaware they have the disease or may not have access to much-needed care. As the numbers are expected to increase exponentially, it is a growing public health concern that needs more attention and effective eye health systems,” says the President of the World Glaucoma Association.


International Women’s Day – 8 March

“Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow” is this year’s theme for International Women’s Day. The theme brings attention to the significant burden that climate change has placed on women, who are disproportionately affected by the crisis. Poverty affects women the most and their reliance on natural resources places them in a position where the current trajectory could leave millions destitute. 

The UN says: “Continuing to examine the opportunities, as well as the constraints, to empower women and girls to have a voice and be equal players in decision-making related to climate change and sustainability is essential for sustainable development and greater gender equality. Without gender equality today, a sustainable future, and an equal future, remains beyond our reach.”

World Consumer Rights Day – 15 March

Is the customer always right? What about their rights? What about the things they need? World Consumer Rights Day seeks to raise “global awareness about consumer rights and needs. Celebrating the day is a chance to demand that the rights of all consumers are respected and protected, and to protest against market abuses and social injustices which undermine those rights.” reads the What We Do page of Consumers International.

World Consumer Rights Day commemorates American President John F. Kennedy’s special message to the US Congress in 1962. This year is all about “fair digital finance”. Themes in recent years have included “tackling plastic pollution” and the “sustainable consumer”.


Human Rights Day – 21 March

The 69 lives lost in Sharpeville just over half a century ago are remembered each year on this day. “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,” says the Government.

With this year marking 25 years since the adoption of the Constitution, Human Rights Day will be even more of a celebration of how far South Africa has come, and what we have achieved.


World Poetry Day – 21 March

It is thought that poetry came long before writing, the same way music was made long before instruments. World Poetry Day is about recognising this age-old form of art. The day has been celebrated since UNESCO’s 30th meeting in 1999. 

“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,” says the Government.

“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.”


World Water Day – 22 March

When scientists look for life on other planets they always look for the main clue: water. Without water there is no life and, in the case of humans, without water there isn’t much of the infrastructure we’ve put in place to make our lives easier. The day is especially important in water scarce nations like South Africa.

“Groundwater is invisible, but its impact is visible everywhere.Out of sight, under our feet, groundwater is a hidden treasure that enriches our lives. Almost all of the liquid freshwater in the world is groundwater. As climate change gets worse, groundwater will become more and more critical. We need to work together to sustainably manage this precious resource. Groundwater may be out of sight, but it must not be out of mind,” reads the UN’s warning. 

International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade – 25 March

For over 400 years millions of people were carried across the Atlantic to be traded off as slaves. This day is a reminder of events which sent waves still felt and seen today. “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,” says the Government.

“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.”