It is widely recognised that South Africa’s food system is unhealthy, unjust, and unsustainable. The Negative impacts of the food system include food insecurity, malnutrition, and diet-related diseases, along with the environmental damage caused by industrial food production, distribution and waste. These harms are unevenly distributed along lines of race, gender, and class.

Drawing on historical research as well as interviews with indigenous knowledge holders, this talk examines how the patterns of capitalist, racial, and patriarchal power put in place under colonialism continue to underpin South Africa’s food system. This process of violence, dispossession and exploitation continue to this day, and the food system is still designed to produce profit for shareholders rather than to nourish the population. Until the coloniality of the food system is recognised and addressed through decolonisation, attempts to address the food crisis will continue to fail.

Author: Brittany Kesselman