FoodBank Johannesburg, State, and Civil Society Organisations in Post-Apartheid Johannesburg

Document Type


Publication Date



This article analyses FoodBank Johannesburg's impact on the network of food security organisations in Johannesburg, South Africa. The introduction of the American food banking model into Johannesburg has led to many positive outcomes, including expanding the number of institutions committed to food security, streamlining food donation processes, increasing the amount of food delivered, and reducing waste. While FoodBank Johannesburg's alignment with the state and capital has assured some level of state funding, it also has the potential to delegitimise particular food security interventions, depoliticise hunger, deepen central state penetration, create new bureaucracies, and allow government to shirk responsibilities towards the food insecure. Additionally, even though food retailers and food manufacturers have committed to the food banking concept, it is not clear whether the food bank's dependence on food business inefficiencies, such as overproduction and incorrect packaging, is an appropriate way to ensure food security. Moreover, FoodBank Johannesburg has transformed non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and community-based organisations (CBOs) through processes of inclusion and exclusion and legitimised a top-down approach towards food security that privileges particular food security interventions over others. For some NGOs, institutional stability has been ensured by changing the organisational mission, accessing private sector funding, or joining forces with FoodBank Johannesburg. Yet, for many NGOs and CBOs, resource unavailability, ineffective governmental policy, and new food bank bureaucracies pose potential institutional challenges and an uncertain future.



Find in your library

Off-Campus WSU Users