Main Menu
Street Children
Human Trafficking


Poverty & Hunger

Republic of

South Africa

In the early years of the 21st Century

Description: Description: Description: SouthAfrica

CAUTION:  The following links and accompanying text have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in South Africa in the early years of the 21st Century.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated, misleading or even false.   No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of poverty are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring the relationship between distribution of labor and per-capita GDP, for example.  Perhaps your paper could focus on life expectancy or infant mortality.  Other factors of interest might be unemployment, literacy, access to basic services, etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to include some of the possible outgrowths of poverty such as Human Trafficking, Street Children, or even Prostitution.  There is a lot to the subject of Poverty.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.

*** ARCHIVES ***

The World Factbook – South Africa

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency CIA

[accessed 17 November 2020]

World Factbook website has moved to --->

[accessed 10 January 2021]

ECONOMIC OVERVIEW - middle-income emerging market with abundant supply of natural resources; well-developed financial, legal, communications, energy, and transport sectors; unemployment, poverty, and inequality remain a challenge

GDP - per capita (PPP): $13,600 (2017 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 4.6%

industry: 23.5%

services: 71.9% (2014 est.)

Unemployment rate: 27.5% (2017 est.)

Population below poverty line: 16.6% (2016 est.)

Maternal mortality rate: 119 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

Infant mortality rate: total: 27.8 deaths/1,000 live births

Life expectancy at birth: total population: 64.8 years

Drinking water source: improved: total: 95.5% of population

Physicians density: 0.91 physicians/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access: improved: total: 90.6% of population

Electricity access: electrification - total population: 84.2% (2016)

The Borgen Project – South Africa

[accessed 17 February 2021]

The Borgen Project works with U.S. leaders to utilize the United States’ platform behind efforts toward improving living conditions for the world’s poor.  It is an innovative, national campaign that is working to make poverty a focus of U.S. foreign policy.  It believes that leaders of the most powerful nation on earth should be doing more to address global poverty. From ending segregation to providing women with the right to vote, nearly every wrong ever righted in history was achieved through advocacy. The Borgen Project addresses the big picture, operating at the political level advancing policies and programs that improve living conditions for those living on less than $1 per day.

~ Cash For Cows: Livestock Wealth In South Africa

~ Rainwater Harvesting Revolutionized By An App

~ The Influence Of Poverty On Mental Health In South Africa

~ Links Between South African Poverty And Education

~ Hunger Initiatives In South Africa

~ Street Vendors Offer Support For Impoverished Communities


CG 2020: Food and nutrition security

May J, Witten C & Lake L (eds) (2020) South African Child Gauge 2020. Cape Town: Children’s Institute, University of Cape Town

PDF [Long URL]

[accessed 20 February 2021]

This 15th annual review of the situation of the country’s children is published by the Children’s Institute (CI), University of Cape Town, in partnership with UNICEF South Africa; the DSI-NRF Centre for Excellence in Human Development, University of the Witwatersrand; the Standard Bank Tutuwa Community Foundation; and the DG Murray Trust.

The theme of the 2020 issue – “Food and nutrition security” – draws attention to the slow violence of child malnutrition and identifies critical points for intervention across the life course, motivating for urgent, early and sustained investment in order to reduce the burden of stunting, obesity and non-communicable diseases; improve children’s health, education and employment prospects; and drive national development.

~ The slow violence of malnutrition

[Long URL]

~ Child-centred food systems: Ensuring healthy diets for children

[Long URL]

~ Corporate fast-food advertising targeting children

[Long URL]

~ Food and nutrition security of the unborn child: The role of maternal nutrition

[Long URL]

~ --- security of infants and young children: Breastfeeding and complementary feeding

[Long URL]

~ --- security for the preschool child: Enhancing early childhood development

[Long URL]

~ Food and nutrition security in schools: Threats and opportunities for intervention

[Long URL]

~ Transforming social protection to strengthen child nutrition security

[Long URL]

~ Double burden and double duty: Government action required to improve child nutrition

[Long URL]


Child hunger: Keeping the wolf from the door

Servaas Van Der Berg & Leila Patel, Financial Mail, 17 February 2021

[accessed 17 February 2021]

But reported child hunger doesn’t convey the full picture of child nutrition. There is a less regular measurement of stunting among young children, which compares children’s height-for-age with an international norm. This phenomenon is far more persistent — and grants haven’t had the same dampening effect on stunting as they had on child hunger prior to the pandemic.

In SA, the combination of the pandemic, the lockdown and international recession hit an already fragile economy, and constrained the government’s options for responding.

The first wave of the Nids-Cram study in May and June showed that food insecurity had intensified.

This implied roughly a doubling of child hunger in the first part of the lockdown relative to the previous year. Simply put, child hunger had returned to levels last seen at the beginning of the century.

Charity begins abroad

[source has been lost]

In the township of Soweto, I saw children orphaned by AIDS, who were naked from the waist down and shoeless, run through the dirt in the hostels, where residents live in small, dark one-room homes with no electricity or water. One woman I met plays mother to eight young orphans. As I traveled along route N2 from Stellenbosch to Cape Town, I initially -- and naively -- mistook a sprawling shanty town in Khayelitsha, where about 500,000 residents live in squalor -- with next to nothing except crime and disease -- for a garbage dump full of discarded corrugated metal until I saw clothing on makeshift clotheslines blowing in the warm wind.

The World Bank in South Africa

[accessed 21 April 2021]

The World Bank’s strategy in South Africa reflects the country’s development priorities and its unique leadership position at sub-regional and continental levels.

Looking back a few years …

Advameg, Inc., Encyclopedia of the Nations

[accessed 10 January 2021]

Although the white minority enjoys living standards equal to those in the rest of the industrialized world, most of the remaining 85% of the population has Third World living standards. The high prevalence of HIV/AIDS remains the major obstacle to achieving economic growth, and, with 5.2 million people living with the disease in 2000 and over 300,000 deaths caused by it.

High unemployment, rigid labor laws, low skill levels, crime, and corruption hamper economic progress. Emigration has also emerged as one of South Africa's challenges, as those South Africans who are highly skilled find better markets for their skills abroad, especially in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Canada, and the US.

 All material used herein reproduced under the fair use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.  PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHTS OF COMPONENT ARTICLES.  Cite this webpage as: Prof. Martin Patt, "Poverty – South Africa",, [accessed <date>]