Africa Day: The Year of Nutrition

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The African Union theme for the year 2022 is nutrition. Strengthening resilience in nutrition and food security on the African continent. The African Union stated that “a human capital well-nourished citizens and in good health with particular emphasis on women, adolescents and children”.

Food and health have always been a part of our culture in Africa. Growing up raised in an African home, girls were not permitted to eat certain foods. We were told those certain foods such as eggs would enhance our development and this would enable men to pursue us. Our grandmothers were very strict when it came to the girl child and food.

The older we grew up, some developed unhealthy relationships with food and health. Certain foods were now being associated with infertility or weight gain. It is not spoken about however, food and health in African homes is a topic that requires debunking. We need to talk about the importance of how we perceive food and how some psychologically suffer from food insecurity.

Today let’s debunk psychologically suffering from food insecurity/ security

When our grandparents were making ends meet in the city, our parents stayed in the rural areas. They stayed in family homes with cousins, siblings, aunts and uncles. Family homes amounted to twelve people living together and sharing space. Not forgetting the rife poverty and deprivation.

A monthly allowance was sent to the rural areas for our parents. The elders that were in the care of our parents rationed the allowance to get the basic household commodities. Now the challenge came when these caregivers became selfish and put their needs first. By this, they would purchase certain food items and hide them away in their bedrooms.

These food items were either given to their biological children or they ate those items themselves. This caused division and hatred amongst cousins and siblings. The grandparents were not aware that these acts were being done because they lived in the city.   

Food insecurity has always been present, maybe then it didn’t have a name. Now it has the name “food insecurity” however it’s long been in existence. It existed when our parents were deprived of certain foods because their parents lived in the city and the caregiver responsible became entitled to the money.

On Africa day, I commend the African union for having the year of nutrition.

Food and health are a very essential subject matter that we need to explore as an African continent. We still need to debunk the impact of food deprivation and its psychological impact on us as Africans. We cannot be a nation that hides food in our bedrooms. We need to have bold discussions about food and aunties need to refrain from keeping the keys around their necks.

I hope the year of nutrition gives a platform to discuss food and health from a deprivation viewpoint.

For as to address food insecurity we need to reflect on how living in the Apartheid regime psychologically tested.

A happy Africa day!     

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Image source: African Union

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