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Vigil keeps prevention of needless blindness in sight

30 Nov 2020

By Seema Johannes Seabela

The South African National Council for the Blind (SANCB) hosted a candlelight vigil in Polokwane, Limpopo province on Thursday, November 5, to mark World Sight Day.

More than 50 people, both sighted and blind, participated in the 2.4km walk from SABC Park to Jack Botes Hall where the candlelight vigil, organised by SANCB in partnership with the office of the Limpopo premier, and the municipalities of Polokwane and Musina, took place.

Maluta Mulibana from the office of the premier’s disability desk, said they had identified several issues as a basis for holding the vigil: restoration of sight, prevention of needless blindness and raising awareness about blindness.

Many people are affected by some sort of visual impairment and end up with a permanent disability which could have been avoided if only they were aware of eye-care services.

According to Statistics South Africa, more than 724 000 people “may be experiencing vision impairment and thus vision difficulties”.

SANCB’s Limpopo chairperson Solly Matlaila said the council aims to eradicate exclusion of the blind as they face a lot of stigma in society, by educating on reasonable accommodation, which includes an environment that caters for the blind.

The vigil was widely publicised on SABC radio before and during the event.
“What distinguishes this year’s awareness from the previous years’ is that we invited business owners to form part of the event where pledges were made to prevent treatable visual challenges that cause blindness such as cataracts,” Matlaila said.

He added that SANCB brings a message of hope to those newly diagnosed with visual impairments and all visually impaired, which says, “Losing sight presents new opportunities that we can grab with both hands. Ours is to accept and embrace our disabilities.”


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