The slow violence of malnutrition
Many of the improvements related to hunger and food security recorded between 2000 and 2018 were almost entirely reversed by South Africa’s hard lockdown and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The more recent data showed some improvements in adult and child hunger, as well as food security. In Wave 1, 22% of respondents reported that someone in their household had gone hungry in May and June; by Wave 2, this figure had dropped to 16%. Child hunger dropped from 15% in wave 1 to 11% in wave 2. The number of households that ran out of money for food also fell: from 47% in April to 37% in June.
Despite these improvements, though, it’s clear that hunger and food insecurity remain at disturbingly high levels in South African households. This is due to the slow recovery of the economy and that the jobs lost in Wave 1 have not returned in Wave 2. Although most groups experienced some “bounce-back” between April and June, employment levels remain well below February levels.
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