Almost one-third of South African university students struggle with food insecurity, with black students disproportionately affected compared to white students.
Factors include high living costs, poverty and, in some cases, food vouchers being of insufficient value to feed students regularly.
A 2015 study at the University of the Free State suggested that high rates of hunger and food insecurity could be a reason why drop-out rates are so high; just over half of students in South Africa graduate from university.
Universities, NGOs and students are all working against food insecurity
Universities have introduced a range of measures to ensure students don’t go hungry, including campaigns, food banks, free meals and food vouchers. A Facebook page called ‘Fairy Godmother‘, set up by a student at the University of the Western Cape, allows people to donate to impoverished students, who write about their financial difficulties on the page.
NGOs including Stop Hunger Now and Gift of the Givers have also provided thousands of meals for students.