Various forms of activism around food are flourishing in South Africa, and food security scholarship and policy research has the potential to engage with these in more sustained ways than has been the case to date.

Food Politics and Cultures: Humanities Approaches to Food (POLITICS)

This Programme explores human relationships to food, the power dynamics around food production and access and the meanings that food acquires in particular cultural and social contexts. A central preoccupation in South African humanities work focuses on how food is marketed and imagined in relation to social identities and lifestyle. Rigorous analysis and understanding of marketing and advertising in relation to identity-making is central to understanding how the current food regime works.

Humanities work has the potential to yield important analysis and records of the localised knowledges in particular contexts that address–either simultaneously or in strategically selective ways–the range of factors that compromise groups’ food security.

Another one’s bread

Indigenous knowledges

Professor Desiree Lewis

Related Articles & publications
The informal sector’s role in food security: A missing link in policy...

This paper aims to review what is currently known about the role played by the informal sector in general and informal retailers in particular, in the accessibility of food in South Africa. The review seeks to identify policy relevant research ...

What do we do when we eat? Part 1: An inconclusive inquiry.

Conradie, E.M., (2016). What do we do when we eat? Part 1: An inconclusive inquiry. Scriptura 115, 1-17. doi:

Principal Investigators

Professor Desiree Lewis

Professor Desiree Lewis is based at UWC's Depertment of Women and Gender Studies. She has published and taught extensively on...

Social Protection for Food Security

One in five children display stunted growth. Yet since South Africa's democratic transition in 1994, social protection programmes have increased dramatically.

Food Governance and Policy Reform

The POLICY programme facilitates dialogue between researchers, the community and policy makers to inform policy making and shape research.

Persistence of Child Malnutrition in South Africa

The CHILDREN programme examines trends, determinants and consequences of food insecurity for mothers and children in South Africa

Shelves, Baskets and Plates

The PLATES programme investigates the dietary intake of poor and vulnerable South Africans, and details the food environments that shape food preferences and choices.

Food safety hazards that affect food security and how these can be...

If food is not handled, stored, distributed and prepared correctly, it can become contaminated and no longer be fit for human consumption.

Innovation and Technology for Enterprise Development

Organisational and technological innovations of food systems can help maintain and improve livelihoods through enterprise development for food security.

Understanding the National and Global Food System

The SYSTEMS programme is concerned with the structure, dynamics and influences on the South African food system and how this is changing.