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

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee 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.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid