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

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge 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.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid