News / Africa

Study Finds Many South African Children Going Hungry

Poor children receive soup and bread from community and religious organizations in Durban, South Africa. (File Photo)
Poor children receive soup and bread from community and religious organizations in Durban, South Africa. (File Photo)
Peta Thornycroft

A fifth of South Africa’s children are malnourished and many live in socially disrupted households, according to a major report published this week.  State statisticians say that 17 years after the country's first democratic elections, black children are still far more disadvantaged than white children or those from other ethnic groups as the roots of the old apartheid system run deep.

Neil Roux, chief statistician for Statistics South Africa, was the team leader of a massive survey of the country's most vulnerable populations. The report covered eight years of progress - or lack of it - on service delivery and to provide data for future planning.  

Roux said there is still significant malnourishment among children, although the number of hungry children has dropped by half in the last eight years.

“Yes it still means about a fifth of all children in South Africa live in households that experience hunger but it is a huge improvement since 2002," said Roux.

The report also covered the syndrome of broken and dislocated households in South Africa. The pattern was established when black people were not allowed to work in areas set aside for whites.

“During the apartheid years we had a system of labor migration and group areas and separation and so forth," said Roux. "We had independent homeland areas which were set aside for particular ethnic groups and in those particular areas people had to leave their families and they basically had a pass to work in a white areas for a year and then they had to return to their homeland area and get permission to go back every year depending on demand for their labor.”

He said this migration meant that eight percent of children live with grandparents and only a third of children live with both parents.  

Statistics South Africa found that education has made enormous strides in the last eight years, but worryingly, most children are dropping out of school before completing their education, particularly girls.

“One of the positive things is that there has been a consistent growth even since 2002 and almost universal attendance at school," added Neil Roux. "What is worrying after age of 16 roughly there is a huge decrease in the number of children that attend school.”

The report also showed the patterns of unequal access to health care, with 86.5 percent of black children seeking medical care at public hospitals, while 87.3 percent of white children use private facilities.  

More than a third of black children lived in households where no single member of that household was employed, which suggests they are likely to go into adulthood unemployed.

Mekonnen Woldegordis from the South African office of the U.N. Children's Fund, UNICEF, said although this report reveals troubling numbers about the state of South Africa’s children, the government has demonstrated, in his words, significant intent to improve their conditions.

Roux said the report by Statistics South Africa involved 36,000 households and was designed to track social development for various government agencies. The report also tracked access to housing, water, electricity and other basic services.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs