SERAJ LLM students attend right to food roundtable
Two LLM students from SERAJ, Philip Swanepoel and Sameera Mahomedy, attended a roundtable meeting on access to food for students in South African tertiary institutions. The event was hosted by the Dullah Omar Institute situated at the University of the Western Cape. Various stakeholders, including students, academia, the Department of Social Development and the South African Human Rights Commission, participated in the three different panel discussions. The discussion topics included “Learning on empty stomachs”, “The role of non-state actors in dealing with food insecurity of university students” and “Vulnerable and hungry students: A case for social protection”.
The diversity amongst the panellists contributed to the richness of the discussions and a variety of perspectives were shared on the matter. Hunger of students due to lack of food was the starting point but discussions also moved onto the importance of the quality and nutritional value of the food available to students. All participants agreed that hunger amongst students in South African tertiary institutions is a systemic problem which is directly in conflict with the transformative project of South Africa. It was concluded that this crisis can only be adequately addressed if there is a concerted effort by both public and private stakeholders.
This roundtable, which specifically focused on the UWC context, was only the first in what is envisioned to be a series of discussions on the right to food for students. The next meeting will focus on the wider Western Cape context and will be followed by a national colloquium early next year. SERAJ would like to thank the Dullah Omar Institute for hosting the roundtable discussion on this important topic.