I went shopping for food last weekend. By the time I got to the cash registers I had “pruned” the basket of goods. I left with a basket of basics that was less than what I wanted and more of what I needed. Yet I am relatively privileged. There are months when I don’t earn anything, and months when I earn just enough to pay for medical aid, Wi-Fi (a writer’s tool of the trade) and municipal rates, and when I am able to set aside a small amount for the bills of the following month. There are many people — millions in SA — who are unable to enjoy these privileges.  

It is almost never a good thing to generalise from personal experience, but I will do it anyway. High inflation, a weakening currency, financial instability and a political economy that is on a downward spiral all make the price of food (and healthcare) prohibitively expensive. The middle class takes an enormous hit during (banking, currency or financial) crises because there is often no savings or extra cash to tide ...

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