Papa and cabbage.
Papa and pilchard.
Brown bread, Rama and black tea.
Amanqina and papa.
Skop and papa.
While some might describe the list above as unhealthy, for a young girl like me growing up in a small township known as Masiphumele in the Southern Region of the Western Cape, this was my staple diet for the longest time. Pap was always had and meat was a luxury that was supplemented by canned beef or on the worst days amanqina (chicken feet).
This was back in the early 2000’s of course with the economy regaining its stability and a post-apartheid South Africa, this country was regaining its strength and so were its people. Yet fast forward to a decade later and the latter has become more prominent than ever, with South Africa’s population standing at 56,882,286,nearly half of this population is black,unemployed and living in townships.
While Cape Town boasts as one of the worlds seven wonders and poses as an impressive destination for tourists, nutrition remains the last of its priorities. With 38.6% of Cape Town’s overall population black, and nearly half of this population living below the bread line, the residences within these townships learn to get by with barely the minimum. These households consists of more than 4 family members with one breadwinner- if their lucky. In the likelihood whereby there is no bread winner these households depend on government grants to get by for the month, a child grant is R350.00 per month.
With inflation on the rise, this is barely enough for baby formula let alone diapers for a baby. In turn these families purchase in groceries in bulk e.g 10 kg maize meal for a month, these are the things that they can afford while it might not be as nutritious as fresh fruit, pap will sustain a family mid-month when there is no money. The market industry in turn uses the disadvantage of others to profit themselves, getting groceries from Supermarkets with ‘affordable’ prices, when you cannot afford to shop at Komati Foods.
There has been an attempt to redress this issue for example; The food dialogues report, which is a representation of an initiative that seeks to promote nutrition in communities. However after reading the first few pages of the report I realized how these dialogues had a clear purpose but the setting was in correct, what good is a light hidden under a table when it needs to fill an entire room? What I mean by this is that these dialogues are being held in suburbs that most black people have no access to more so, this information then only circulates within these communities rather than going out into the actual communities that are in desperate need of help. Another issue is organisations that do come into communities in an attempt to provide assistance do not do follow ups on the newly founded projects and thus then results in a collapse.
As a journalist it is then my responsibility to ensure that I begin with my community, by educating the people on smart living and how this is possibly cheaper than they think this will be a small step in a long journey to a healthy nutrition.