Hundreds of students queue for food parcels at Wits to avoid going hungry

With the multitude of issues facing tertiary institutions including tuition and living costs, racial division and sexual harassment, the problem of hunger on campuses flies under the radar. However, this is a huge problem that affects thousands of students across the country daily.

Maricia Smith, a student and representative of the Wits University Inala Forum says that the issue of food and hunger on campuses is one of the most under-examined issues in the country.

We have so many students that go hungry every single day. At the Wits food bank, we have at least 400 to 500 students minimum queuing every Tuesday and Thursday to receive some food parcels, because they have no other way of finding food.

Maricia Smith, Wits Inala Forum

Smith says that sometimes the food bank and the campus as a whole are unable to provide enough food to feed those students in need.

She adds that the high number of commercialised food places on campus adds to the problem, as there is nowhere to find an affordable nutritious meal that every student can access.

It's a disgrace. Our student's dignity is being undermined, because they cannot study, they cannot focus because they cannot eat proper healthy food.

Maricia Smith, Wits Inala Forum

Funmilola Adeniyi a doctoral researcher on socio-economic rights, says that there is a general acknowledgment in the country that hunger on campuses is a problem, however, there is not is not enough research being gone to quantify just how big the problem is.

Adeniyi adds that the research that does exist is on a campus restrictive basis. So what you have is different organisations or initiatives in one school doing research based only on that campus.

Once basic thing that we do know is a larger number of students are food insecure, mostly prevailing in specific categories of students, such as black and coloured students from previously disadvantaged backgrounds, and particularly students that are on bursaries and loans.

Funmilola Adeniyi, doctoral researcher on socio-economic rights

Dr Mary Hanes, the director Gender Equity Unit and Food Programme at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) say that government has not done anything to alleviate poverty on campuses.

She adds that they saw the food insecurity problem a decade ago at UWC, which is why they started their organisation.

Listen to the full interview below:


702 welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

  • Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
  • Sexism
  • Homophobia
  • Religious intolerance
  • Cyber bullying
  • Hate speech
  • Derogatory language
  • Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the 702 community a safe and welcoming space for all.

702 reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

702 is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

Read More
UCT can't afford 0% fee increase for 2018 - Max Price

UCT can't afford 0% fee increase for 2018 - Max Price

UCT has not yet decided on the fee hike for 2018, pending the release of the Fees Commission report. Meanwhile, students protest.

UCT engineering student creates affordable grey water system

UCT engineering student creates affordable grey water system

Nkosinathi Nkomo came up with a system that could turn grey water into usable water amidst the Cape Town water crisis.

Mental illness tends to manifest at varsity student age - psychiatrist

Mental illness tends to manifest at varsity student age - psychiatrist

Africa Melane hosted guests in studio for a discussion on tertiary students who are battling depression.

Sadag call centre sees slight volume increase following Wits suicide

Sadag call centre sees slight volume increase following Wits suicide

The depression group ops director Cassey Chambers says the stigma that reaching out for help is a sign of weakness must change.

Fees Must Fall: Lessons learned two years on

Fees Must Fall: Lessons learned two years on

Kamil Ali, SG of the Wits SRC spoke with 702 host Phemelo Motene about what the #FeesMustFall movement has achieved to date.

Wits suicide highlights need for student mental health support on and off campus

Wits suicide highlights need for student mental health support on and off campus

A Witwatersrand student jumped to her death from a building in Braamfontein on Saturday.

Popular articles
8 things you may not know about Jacques Pauw

8 things you may not know about Jacques Pauw

We thought we'd let you in on some facts about sought after, award-winning journo Jacques Pauw, author of The President's Keepers.

UCT students invent effective shower water-capturing device

UCT students invent effective shower water-capturing device

Shower Savvy is a Jerry can look-alike that one can stand on while taking a shower which stores up to 10 litres of grey water.

The President's Keepers: PDF version is tantamount to theft - Exclusive Books

The President's Keepers: PDF version is tantamount to theft - Exclusive Books

A PDF version of the book has been doing the rounds since Sars and the State Security Agency threatened legal action.

Falling out of love? Signs and stages of romantic disengagement

Falling out of love? Signs and stages of romantic disengagement

Can you love your partner, but no longer be in love with them? Dr Eve unravels stages of disaffection in romantic relationships.

Celibacy liberated me - Amanda Ndiki

Celibacy liberated me - Amanda Ndiki

Author Amanda Ndiki, celibate for 6 years describes her journey and how celibacy helped mend her sense of self.

Investing in increasingly wealthy Mauritius (Africa’s most functional democracy)

Investing in increasingly wealthy Mauritius (Africa’s most functional democracy)

Bruce Whitfield interviews Nikiwe Bikitsha, who is on a fact-finding mission in Mauritius courtesy of Standard Bank.

'The university degree is dead'

'The university degree is dead'

Flux Trends founder Dion Chang gives five reasons why he believes getting a degree is past its sell by date.

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

WIN R2000! But only if you can prove you're a whiz of the MTN Biz Quiz by answering the following three questions...

Blesserfinder: Matching you with a sugar daddy near you

Blesserfinder: Matching you with a sugar daddy near you

Is social trend Blesserfinder, where girls are allegedly matching up with rich 'benefactors' in exchange for sex, a real thing?