Loading Events

Migration, Food and Politics in South Africa: Contestations Over Immigrant-owned Grocery Shops in South Africa and Their Implications for Food Security

May 29 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am

MiFOOD webinar no. 18

Many immigrants are concentrated in South Africa’s informal grocery shop (or ‘spaza’) sector. These shops often play an intermediary role between large formal wholesaler sectors and low-income informal township markets. Their emergence over the past two decades has introduced new business practices and services to township economies with many positive benefits for food insecure consumers. At the same time rivalry with South African shopkeepers, and resentment and suspicion among surrounding residents has led to many immigrant grocery shops falling victim to violent attack, state clamp downs, and legislative efforts to limit their ability to operate. These political currents – which often espouse to advance citizens’ economic interests – threaten to destabilise and disrupt access to food in low income areas.


Vanya Gastrow, University of Cape Town

Vanya Gastrow is a Senior Researcher in in the Justice and Violence Prevention Programme at the Institute for Security Studies and an adjunct senior lecturer at the University of Cape Town’s department of public law. She has a PhD in Migration Studies from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. Over the past 14 years, Vanya has worked and consulted on research projects relating to migration in South Africa. These include studies on crime affecting immigrant retailers, their ability to access justice mechanisms, their role in local economies, and the regulation of their shops.

MiFOOD is hosting a series of webinars on various topics about migration and food security that highlight the progress of the project. These webinars include conceptual discussion, empirical findings and policy analysis. Through these webinars, we intend to build a community with various stakeholders for knowledge sharing, deepen the understanding of the complex intersections between migration and food security, and facilitate the discussion of effective policy interventions. Follow the MiFOOD Twitter (Moving on Empty), Like the MiFOOD Facebook page to be notified about upcoming webinars.

Migration, Food and Politics in South Africa

This webinar will take place on the Zoom platform. The link will be sent to registrants on May 28.

5 Going

Bloekombos Cash and Carry store. Woman standing in the doorway.

Photo credit: Vanya Gastrow


May 29
10:00 am - 11:00 am
Event Category:


Balsillie School of International Affairs, 67 Erb Street West
Waterloo, ON Canada
+ Google Map
View Venue Website

Disclaimer: Events posted on this website are public events, unless otherwise stated. By attending our events, you are choosing to enter a space where your image and/or voice may be captured and used as part of a publication (online and/or in print), broadcast, or webcast. If you have any questions, please contact our office at events@balsillieschool.ca or 226-772-3001, or speak to the photographer or videographer at the event.
Scroll to Top