Food Politics and Cultures Festival: A Festival of the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Tags: food politics festival, district six, foodwork, food consumption

Venue: District Six Museum

Date: 10 - 12 November 2017 

Venue: District Six Museum 

Hosted by the Food Politics and Cultures Project within the Centre of Excellence on Food Security at UWC, the festival brings together intellectual activists, scholars, students and artists to generate interdisciplinary conversations about and responses to the socio-political implications of food items, foodwork and food consumption. The festival will challenge the rigid and technical models that usually frame activism and scholarship about food, land and agrarian studies, and will focus on multidimensional, interdisciplinary and creative responses to and dynamic conversations about the myriadfacets of food in our lives.

Food is central to our day-to-day experiences of physical survival, pleasure and work. Yet scholarship rarely confronts this adequately, even though we live at a time when corporate capitalism controls the choices we make about food and how to grow and eat it; when the impact of harmful genetic engineering constantly threatens, what is on our plates; and when groups such as small-scale farmers, domestic cooks and artists are resiliently searching for liberating ways to grow, eat and think about food.

Other patterns related to food in our present include:

  • The regional, national and global land and agrarian struggles that our current food distribution and consumption is based;
  • The resilience of forms of food production cooking and eating that testify to the rich networks of food in our lives;
  • The role of South African corporate capitalism and neo-liberalism in shaping food chains on the continent;
  • The centrality of foodwork and cooking in feminised spaces that are often marginalised or trivialised;
  • The centrality of food items, eating and cuisine in cultural representations of pleasure, sociality, conviviality and wellbeing;
  • The pivotal role of food in fictional, dramatic and artistic representations of individual and collective experiences.

Broader themes for the festival include:

  • Food politics, cultures, histories and geographies;
  • Foodways, coloniality, racism and migration;
  • Food and eating: representing social identities and lifestyle;
  • Embodiment, the visceral and pleasure;
  • Food struggles, food sovereignty and agrarian transformation;
  • Nature/Society and the ecological crisis.

Responding to these themes, the festival showcases and celebrates new thinking by students and scholar-activists, as well as knowledge production in several genres including fiction, the visual arts and performance. The festival is also aimed at generating conversations between those working in the academy and specialist areas of cultural production, and the broader public.

The festival will include:

  • Open lectures by eminent public intellectuals and scholar activists
  • Panel Discussions
  • A Visual Art Exhibition
  • Talks and Demos
  • Musical performances
  • A new play by Mike van Graan titled Another One’s Bread (A dark comedy about funerals, feeding and faking, featuring Faniswa Yisa, Chuma Sopotela, Awethu Hleli and Lesedi Job, directed by Pamela Nomvete) and
  • Celebrations and reading of new fiction-writing.

For more information, please Contact Lynn Mafofo, Thembelihle Bongwana or Rudo Chikara at