This exhibition was commissioned by the Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action (PACSA) for their 2014 PACSA Film and Arts Festival. Here I was given free rein to interpret living conditions for KwaZulu-Natal based communities, with a focus on food sustainability. The exhibition premiered at their Arts Festival in 2014.
This focus on food sustainability, in the context of South Africa, where one in four South Africans go to bed hungry, and malnutrition is rampant and widespread, allowed me to focus on an oft neglected, but critically important issue.
Malnutrition, especially in the first seven critical year, is key to the success or failure of people in later life, and in this regard South Africa tragically fails a quarter of its population on an ongoing basis. We have just been promised more austerity by our Minister of the Economy Tito Mboweni.
The tragedy of course is that South Africa has no shortage of food, we are net exporters of food. But we align to a World Bank and International Monetary Fund paradigm that’s asserts that our balance of payments is more critical than our ability to feed ourselves. Paying our debts to international bankers and having foreign currency to pay for global trade purchases is their key concern.
Most middleclass people have never experienced hunger. Hunger is the most terrifying experience ever, and a slow death by hunger the most painful. The side effects of hunger are of course manifold; lack of concentration thereby impacting on ability to deliver and participate in learning programs or the economy, stunted physical growth, health impact that are a drain on our health services, propensity to engage in criminal acts to alleviate the hunger and cognitive impairment amongst others.
That this hunger takes place in a country of great wealth, and within sight of people who are the beneficiaries of that wealth is yet another obscenity and indictment on the economic system and method of governments that fails the people of South Africa so tragically.