Contact Us
19 October 2019
Food, Pleasure and Poison in Cape Town: A Response to World Food Day

(Published - 14 October 2019)

The event, a response to International Food Day, involves two components: one is an interactive panel discussion, explores wide-ranging forms and meanings attached to food in urban and per-urban environments. Much has been written about South African’s access to food, strategies for increasing food production and processes for distributing food justly. Far less has been said about the quality of the food we eat, how and why we derive pleasure from certain foods and not others, or what happens to our bodies and our psyches when the food we eat is legally and scientifically “poisoned”. In the panel discussion, four speakers, well-known in their fields, explore the complex negative, positive and ambivalent meanings attached to food and eating in present-day South African urban contexts.

The second component, is a thought-provoking play, first performed at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival in July this year. “My Daily Bread” has been written, directed and performed by (untrained) black women students at UWC. The play will be followed by a discussion on the issues it raises.


Zayaan Khan
Zayaan is a food activist and seed librarian from Cape Town. She works to understand nuances within food systems by navigating them from an interdisciplinary perspective. Her research is embedded in land and food justice – from indigenous food reclamation to art as a tool for narrative – specifically to find ways to share stories, both of struggle and solution.
Rutendo Furusa
Rutendo (Ru) Furusa is a chef, food blogger and recipe developer who enjoys experimenting with different flavours to create tasty, nutritious food. Originally from Zimbabwe, Ru started her career in food at the young age of 5 as a sous chef in her mother's kitchen, preparing hearty meals for the family with produce from their backyard. This fueled her passion for cooking with vegetables and sustainably grown local produce. Ru holds a Masters in Development Studies from UCT, but food has always been her first love. She is currently a guest chef on the popular lifestyle show Afternoon Express.
Haidee Swanby
Haidee Swanby has worked for the past 20 years as a researcher and activist in what is now emerging as an African Food Sovereignty movement. Her focus has been on traditional agriculture, indigenous knowledge, and the privatisation of African agriculture and corporate control of the food system. Her Masters research explores how we draw on the visceral to build political identities and catalyse activism; how food feels in our bodies, connects to intellect, emotions and histories and the choices we make as a result.
Angelo Fick
Angelo Fick is the Director of Research at ASRI. Before joining ASRI, he spent nearly half a decade as a resident current affairs and news analyst in the broadcast sector in South Africa. For two decades he taught across a variety of disciplines in the Humanities and Applied Sciences in universities in South Africa and Europe. His research is informed by critical ‘race’ theory, feminism, colonial discourse theory, and post-structuralism. He has written widely on post-millennial post-apartheid South Africa’s political economy, and remains interested in broader issues of justice, freedom, and equality. He has supervised graduate work on the representation of women politicians in South African media, the figuration of subjectivity in contemporary critical theory, and most recently, an analysis of the relationship between national sovereignty and supra-national organisations in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. In May 2019 he was one of the primary analysts of the South African general elections for South Africa’s public broadcaster, the SABC.
Desiree Lewis
Desiree Lewis is a professor in the Women’s and Gender Studies Department at the University of the Western Cape, and the lead Principal Researcher of the Mellon-funded intra-university “Critical Food Studies Programme”

Please RSVP here for catering purposes: