Food Security as a Lens on the Lived Experience of Poverty in Philippi

2015. In M. Brown-Luthango (ed.), State/Society Synergy in Philippi (Cape Town: African Centre for Cities), pp. 94-117.

A city is what it eats. Food is central to the health, culture, economy and experience of urban areas and their citizens. And yet, this vital lens to understand our cities is often neglected. This chapter draws on the data set generated from the 2008 African Food Security Urban Network’s (AFSUN) baseline survey conducted in Philippi, Khayelitsha and Ocean View to illuminate aspects of the lived experience of the urban food system and therefore, life more broadly in Philippi. The main purpose of this chapter is to investigate food insecurity in Philippi and to demonstrate the factors from the household and individual to city scale that shape people’s ability to access sufficient, affordable, nutritious food. Food is a valuable lens through which to view life in areas like Philippi for a number of reasons. Through focussing on food choices it is possible to engage with the ways in which the local economy operates, the connections between different parts of the city and the interplay between economic and cultural practices. By investigating how people access food over time it is possible to develop an understanding of the dynamic dimensions of poverty that are often unseen in conventional poverty research.

Jane Battersby