A recent empirical study on food shortage in South African urban townships indicates that
food shortage embodies multi-faceted aspects with broader social implications, such as the
sense of personal dignity, the ability to openly associate with others and a loss of self-identity.
It is argued that the parables of Jesus, when read as symbols of social transformation, provide
a critique on food insecurity systems in urban townships. It is proposed that the parables of
Jesus serve as the conduits for a societal and perhaps ecclesial reorientation with regard to the
conditions of hunger, in the light of the vision and values of the kingdom of God.
This research is part of the
Readings’, directed by Prof.
Dr Ernest van Eck,
Department of New
Testament Studies, Faculty
of Theology, University of
This article represents a reworked version of aspects from the PhD dissertation of Meshack Mandla Mashinini, titled The parables of
Jesus as critique on food security systems for vulnerable households in urban townships, in the Department of New Testament Studies,
University of Pretoria, with Prof. Dr Ernest van Eck as supervisor.