International stars lend their voices to raise awareness on World Sight Day in South Africa


World Sight Day is an annual day of awareness held on the second Thursday of October, to focus global attention on avoidable blindness and visual impairment. With this year’s activities falling on 12 October, international non-profit Orbis Africa and South African advertising agency Fishgate created an emotive television commercial to place the focus squarely on eye care in impoverished communities.

The soundtrack, a cover of “Mad World” originally composed by Tears for Fears band member, Roland Orzabal, and sung by popular UK-based musician Jennifer Ann, gives the commercial its haunting appeal. Orbis, one of the leading members of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), is known throughout the world for its prevention and treatment strategies against avoidable blindness. The focus of their Cape Town-based office, Orbis Africa, is no different.

“In Africa, more than 8 million children live with treatable visual impairment”, says Helen White, Director of Communications & Fundraising at Orbis Africa. “What makes this situation particularly heartbreaking is both the loss of sight, and the resulting loss of opportunity to live a full life – brought on by conditions that are most often preventable, treatable or curable. With this campaign, we set out to raise awareness of this issue that affects so many”, she adds.

Cape Town ad agency Fishgate was happy to lend their creative genius to the cause. The commercial entitled “No Games” will be aired pro bono on DSTV channels during the months of October and December. “As a team, we were thrilled by the challenge to create something that would not only be effective in raising awareness for Orbis Africa, but also creatively memorable”, says Quintes Venter, Creative Director at Fishgate.

In a space of 45 seconds, the commercial looks at the reality faced by visually-impaired children in Africa. While the focus is merely on one aspect of a normal childhood, it’s really a metaphor for all the everyday activities and opportunities missed due to a loss of sight. “Given the tight production schedule, we’re thankful to each and every one of our partners who came together to make this production happen. It is incredible that DSTV has generously donated airtime, which will take the commercial into the homes of thousands of families and businesses”, says Quintes.

With the funds raised by the campaign, Orbis Africa will continue its mission – to preserve and restore the sight of people living in highly impoverished communities – long after World Sight Day has come and gone.


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