Start main page content

Ten to 20 South African children die of starvation every day

- Wits University

Tens of thousands of children under the age of five are admitted to hospital each year for severe acute malnutrition, says Dr Tracy Ledger.

Ledger, Research Associate in the School of Social Sciences, was a guest speaker on TalkRadio 702's morning show,  Breakfast with Xolani Gwala, on World Hunger Day.

She says people don't think that children in South Africa are starving to death but they definitely are, according to offical government health data.

"About 1 500 to 2 000 of those children (admitted to hospital with severe acute malnutrition) die in hospital of starvation. Many more children in South Africa die out of hospital than in hospital (up to 9 000) and the indirect effects of malnutrition are much higher," Ledger said.

Listen to the full interview

About Tracy Ledger

Ledger is a South African researcher in the field of economic development, with 25 years of research experience. She holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of the Witwatersrand and a Master’s degree in Agricultural Economics from Stellenbosch University. She is an agri-food activist, believing that a more equitable agri-food system is fundamental to building a more equitable society.

She recently published a book An Empty Plate that analyses the state of the South African agri-food system: Why we are losing the battle for our food system, why it matters, and how we can win it back. Ledger demonstrates how the agri-food system is perpetuating poverty, threatening land reform; entrenching inequality and tearing apart our social fabric. The book asks two crucial questions: how did we get to this point and how might we go about solving the problem.