What do you think about the idea of turning slums into tourist attractions?
Organized visits to poor areas are gaining popularity. This is known as “slum tourism” or “poverty tourism”.
This trend raises questions about whether this is educational and philanthropic or exploitative?
This is something that mainly residents protest and they say that they feel like wildlife. I spoke to one of the residents who was angry saying that this should not be happening.
Slum tourism actually dates back more than 150 years, when the upper Victorian class travelled from London to the east of the city to see how the lower class lived.
Slum tourism in Africa began in the early 1990s in South Africa.
Soweto, South Africa’s most famous township, is located south of Johannesburg. Historically, Soweto has always been at the forefront of the struggle against apartheid.
Kibera: Tourists flock to Africa’s largest slum
In Kenya, slum tourism is also taking off. Several local organizations offer guided tours through Kibera in Nairobi, the capital.
For about 23 euros, tourists are promised a glimpse into the lives of hundreds of thousands of people living in tiny rooms along dirt roads littered with plastic bags filled with excrement called “flying toilets”, as one travel agency explains on its website.
Kenyan journalist Osman Mohamed Osman explains how slum tourism came about in Kibera.
“This is something that mainly residents protest and they say that they feel like wildlife. I spoke to one of the residents who was angry saying that this should not be happening”.
Critics say that unlike tours in South African townships, which help to tell the story of the struggle against apartheid, Kibera’s only attraction is its open sewer poverty – with residents on parade like animals in a zoo.
Although slum visits to Africa are a controversial subject, it is important to remember that they provide employment and income for the people who live there. Individuals can be employed as tourist guides in slums and craftsmen have the opportunity to sell their products to visiting tourists as souvenirs.
It is important to remember that the cities you visit during slum visits are residential, so these visits should be conducted with strict respect.@NyashaKMutizwa