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British Academy Project: The Role of Traditional Foods in Rapid Urbanization in South Africa

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posted on 2024-06-27, 09:20 authored by Alexandra HughesAlexandra Hughes

Part of the British Academy Knowledge Frontiers: International Interdisciplinary Research funding programme. Funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). We are one of nine research projects bringing together novel, interdisciplinary ideas from across the humanities and social sciences in collaboration with the natural, medical and engineering sciences to propose solutions to international challenges past, present and future.

• Theme of ‘What is a good city?’

• 2-year projects with interdisciplinary and international teams

• Projects “strengthen understanding of international challenges … and engage with questions concerning the relationship between expertise, public understanding and policy delivery internationally.” (British Academy)

This research project investigated the challenge of food insecurity in cities as experienced by migrant communities and explored the role of traditional foods in well-being. The global population is increasingly urbanised, with Sub-Saharan Africa experiencing the fastest rate of urban population growth. South Africa is a centre for regional migration, with Johannesburg being the destination for the largest proportion of both within-country and international migrants. The project focused on two migrant groups in Johannesburg - South African rural-to-urban migrants and international regional migrants. Urban populations are dependent on food markets for daily sustenance and nutrition, hence access to affordable, acceptable and nutritious food through markets must be prioritised by cities. By identifying the drivers of food choice in urban migrant and immigrant populations around traditional foods, barriers to consumption and engaging with those involved in knowledge in urban planning and development, this project aimed to go some way towards tackling the problem of urban food insecurity and malnutrition.

Funding

British Academy KF6220103

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