South Africa: How Nation Can Feed Its Hungry Children During the Lockdown

Protests in Khayelitsha over the demolition of shacks

Small children require five to six small meals a day. While extraordinary situations require extraordinary measures, lockdown cannot afford to put children's growth and development on hold. There is no overcoming the loss in human potential if we do not protect and provide for children.

"Alleviating hunger is not an act of charity. It is an imperative for any society that is founded on respect for human rights." - President Cyril Ramaphosa, 20 April 2020.

Hunger was a reality before lockdown

Increasing demand for food parcels, looting of shops and cries from the hungry in South Africa under lockdown conditions imposed as a precautionary measure amid the Covid-19 pandemic raise concern over the plight of many in South Africa (and, more broadly, in Africa).

Even before Covid-19, many South African households faced a total lack of income, reduced income or uncertainty around retrenchments and unemployment. In ordinary times, the majority of households in South Africa live from hand to mouth. Unemployment in South Africa is already high (nearly 30% in the fourth quarter of 2019). In these extraordinary times, finding food to feed a family presents a choice between infection or starvation, leading to increasing protests and looting.

The livelihoods...

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