International Day of the Girl Child: the future is female


11 October marks the annual International Day of the Girl Child as declared by the United Nations in 2011. It is a day when various events are held to raise awareness around the importance of girls’ rights in the hopes of gaining active support for the cause, with each year carries a different theme. The sixth annual celebration’s theme is “The Power of the Adolescent Girl: Vision for 2030”, and it emphasises the importance of gender equality and the general goal of empowering all women by 2030.

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Poultry industry’s increasing loss as Avian flu worsens


On 22 June Chief Director of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), in the subdivision of Animal Production and Health, Dr Botlhe Michael Modisane, issued a report to the World Organisation of Animal Health stating that the outbreak of the H5N8 Avian influenza virus was confirmed after the Agricultural Research Council and Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute conducted tests. According to Eye Witness News, over 250 birds have been culled in Johannesburg since September. On 2 October, Economic Opportunities MEC Alan Winde, said that over two million birds had been killed or culled in the Western Cape as a result of the avian influenza.

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Mental health matters


Tuesday 10 October marked the 25th anniversary of World Mental Health Day. This day, and the rest of October, aims to support and raise awareness of mental health issues worldwide. The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines mental health as the state of well-being of an individual which allows them to realise their potential, cope with stresses of life, and work productively to contribute to society. According to the South African Federation for Mental Health (SAFMH), one quarter of people will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives.

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LGBTIAQ+ rights in South Africa


Coming Out Day is celebrated annually on 11 October. The day celebrates the act of coming out as LGBTIAQ+ in order to promote a safe world for LGBTIAQ+ individuals to live openly and truthfully. The first Coming Out Day was celebrated on the second anniversary of the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights on 11 October 1988, one of the largest LGBTIAQ+ advocacy marches in history.

South Africa has had a long history of LGBTIAQ+ rights and advocacy. During Apartheid, the Immorality Act of 1957 and further amendments to the act in 1968 restricted what they termed as “unnatural or immoral sexual acts”, which was used as a euphemism for homosexual intercourse. The discriminatory legislation led to the establishment of various rights and advocacy organisations such as the Organisation of Lesbian and Gay Activists (OLGA) and the National Coalition for Gay and Lesbian Equality (NCGLE), later known as the Lesbian and Gay Equality Project (LGEP). These organisations also aligned themselves with anti-apartheid political groups such as the ANC and UDF. However, these groups had a limited impact on LGBTIAQ+ legislation at the time.

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On campus student support


Being in university can be a very stressful environment, and it tends to get even more stressful around exam time. The Student Support and Counselling Centre of the University of Pretoria comprises of a team of highly qualified clinical psychologists and social workers that offer a wide range of support in the form of academic, emotional and therapeutic support, and can help with psychological issues, stress related issues, trauma, family problems, substance abuse, and sexual abuse, to name a few. Student Support offers services in groups and in individual consultations, and it is encouraged that any student that feels they may need support seek out Student Support for screening, as their services are free of charge and can be very beneficial. Student Support offers short- and long-term councelling. The wellbeing of students is their priority and they want students to use these services to ensure that students put themselves in the best position to obtain their degrees and have success in life.

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