“We Eat Sushi Now”: Targeting Hungry Students at South African Universities


  • Mary Hames
  • Desiree Lewis University of the Western Cape




critical food literacy, food justice, food security, food sovereignty, hunger, South African universities, neoliberalism, students, world food system


Media reports, research, and student support services are paying an increasing amount of attention to the hunger experienced by students at South African universities. This article demonstrates that most of this attention is rooted in a food security paradigm, or in approaches that mitigate the effects of student hunger. It avoids addressing the causes of hunger, which lie in oppressive systems such as the neoliberal world food system and the operation of the entrepreneurial public university. Our discussion of trends at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) takes two trajectories: We explore the ways in which universities’ practical and research priorities reinforce hegemonic responses to hunger, and we reflect on explicitly politicised currents of critical work around students and hunger. What certain scholars and activists have termed “critical food system literacy” signals how transformative strategies and knowledge production are being developed at some universities—sometimes beyond the parameters of what is conventionally seen as food-centred advocacy, activism, or research.



How to Cite

Hames, M., & Lewis, D. (2021). “We Eat Sushi Now”: Targeting Hungry Students at South African Universities. Gender Questions, 9(1), 17 pages. https://doi.org/10.25159/2412-8457/7425
Received 2020-02-28
Accepted 2020-09-21
Published 2021-03-18