Three rand for a cup of rice and four to seven rand for four potatoes. That is Christina’s daily food budget. She does not know where her next meal will come from.
A thirty two year old mother of four living on the outskirts of Pretoria, she has to support her disabled sister and her twin children. Christina and her sister do take turns doing odd jobs, so one of them can stay at home to look after their children, but finding fresh nutritious food is difficult. When they can find it, it is very expensive and they often have to barter for it. 2 cabbages might get a small chicken, if they are lucky. Five weeks have passed since the family has enjoyed a small chicken and twice as long since red meat has crossed their lips.
Christina’s husband is dead and her sister’s boyfriend is… well… nowhere to be found. When they cannot afford the humble rice and or potatoes, they turn to what they know will work best to hold of the hunger pangs – the ” poppie water diet”, which consists of slices of white bread and a carton of cheap and sugary juice.
Their children wake up at night because of hunger pangs and Christina’s sister has thought of having her twins adopted to give them a better life.
According to the South African government, South Africa is officially food secure. This means it produces enough food to feed its 53-million citizens. But statistics from the general household survey in 2012, found that 14-million people “regularly experience hunger”. This means that from day to day they do not know where their next meal will come from. A further 15-million are on the verge of hunger, so any reduction to their already meagre income will push them into chronic hunger.
Hunger also cripples people in other ways. Anecdotal evidence shows that hunger also created a malaise in people and whole communities, which “crushes the potential of people to get out of poverty and to prosper”. This helped to perpetuate the inequalities in society that had created the hunger in the first place.
The worst-affected communities were informal ones, where 38% faced hunger on a daily basis. Even in formal urban areas, where the levels of hunger are at their lowest nationally, a fifth of people face hunger daily.
Source – Oxfam