Veer Shetty '21
Bio: I am a senior at Lincoln Center studying anthropology. I am from Ann Arbor, Michigan and I love to drink tea.
Title of Research: Researching Food Insecurity Among Migrants in Hillbrow, Johannesburg
Mentor: Dr. Ronald Nerio
Abstract: In this article I will be writing about food insecurity among displaced persons in Hillbrow, South Africa. Hillbrow is an inner-city neighborhood in Johannesburg that serves as the first point of entry for more legally recognized refugees and asylum-seekers, as well as unauthorized border-crossers, than any other location in the country. It also attracts numerous domestic migrants from underdeveloped rural areas as well as the townships that are a legacy of South Africa’s apartheid system. Members of each of these groups have faced varying degrees of displacement, vulnerability, and food insecurity. They have arrived in Hillbrow in search of “greener pastures” because the neighborhood offers hundreds of high-rise apartheid buildings, urban amenities such as food vendors, and, perhaps most important, centralized access to bus and train routes that provide transit to the job-rich northern suburbs. Conversely, residents of Hillbrow face a high rate of unemployment, exploitatively high rents, deteriorating living conditions, and overcrowding. Food insecurity has much more to do with larger economic and social factors than a real lack of food. Indeed, food is plentiful in Hillbrow. My study aims to show how larger economic and social circumstances have affected access to adequate nutrition among various groups. Through a comprehensive Literature Review and ethnographic interviews, I wish to explain how members of each of these groups meet their food needs while responding to frequent changes in South African immigration law and crumbling social infrastructure. This research has profound implications for Food Insecurity research, which for too long has been focused on the rural. By focusing on the urban, we can draw connections about food insecurity in Metroples across the global south.