South Africa: inequalities even on the plates of

South Africa has faced a worrying increase in diet-related diseases in recent years, such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure. Several factors explain this phenomenon. Inequality primarily prevents South African households from having the same access to healthy food.

From our correspondent in Johannesburg,

At the age of 61, Hilda regularly comes to this mall in Soweto. Not to shop, but to consult a doctor at a small doctor’s surgery, hidden in a nook upstairs.

Hilda’s diabetes has now stabilized, but with constant effort. “Healthy food is expensive,” says Hilda. “It would be better if we got some help, because you know, really, in the neighborhood you can not find everything you want, you have to be able to move. So it’s not easy, or rather not accessible, I would say. »

Antoinette also took a seat in the waiting room. She knows that it is much more complicated to control her weight and her diabetes than a simple matter of willpower. “It’s easier to buy junk food, because it’s cheaper,” says Antoinette. “And for example, the land here is sometimes too small to have a vegetable garden. Most places around us offer french fries or kotas. You know that quail are those big loaves. It costs a maximum of 20 rand, so it is easy for those who have no money “, she adds.

► Also listening: South Africa: 70% of overweight women

Rising numbers It was Dr Bruno Pauly, a diabetes specialist, who came up with the idea for this practice while working at the largest public hospital in Soweto. Over the years, he does not see that the situation changes very well.

People are gaining more and more weight, and this is accompanied by lifestyle-related diseases, leading to diabetes or high blood pressure. These figures are increasing, in South Africa, but also more specifically in Soweto and in townships. People consume more sugar and at the same time the diet of the poorest here is based almost entirely on starchy foods. We therefore observe a lot of diabetes in society For more justice in food The HEALA associations organize campaigns to encourage more justice in food. “When you have a small budget for food, you tend to buy food that can last a long time,” says Eunice Montso, project manager. “Buying fruit or vegetables is considered expensive, and they can not be stored for long. And we even see that in some places there is no water available, so people will turn more to soft drinks.”

The South African government also plans to increase its tax on sugary drinks, which has been in place since 2018.

This story is supported by a grant from the International Women’s Media Foundation.

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