Fake S. Africa slum for wealthy tourists: the most tasteless idea ever?

Tony Gosling tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Mon Dec 16 23:48:43 GMT 2013


Fake slum for wealthy tourists: the most 
tasteless and offensive tourism idea ever?



If you thought the idea of rich tourists on 
holiday taking time out for a 
(or riding) tour through a slum in order to stare 
at slum inhabitants like they’re animals at a 
safari was tasteless, insensitive and offensive, 
the people at Emoya Luxury Hotel & Spa in 
Bloemfontein, South Africa, have found a way to 
offer something even more tasteless.

In case you haven’t heard, the Emoya people have 
a fake shanty town consisting of “shacks” so that 
guests can experience what it’s like to stay in a 
shanty town. For R850 (€60; $82) - about half the 
average monthly salary in South Africa - you and 
three friends, family members or colleagues can 
spend a night in a shack made of corrugated iron 
sheets. They “shanty town” has room for 52 guests. I kid you not.


“Shanty town”, luxury style, by Emoya

It’s not known how many takers Emoya have had for 
this service, but it is clear they have no idea 
what it is like to have to live in a shanty town, 
or why someone who does not have to live in one 
cannot ever “experience” what it is like. Even if 
you spend a month living in a real shanty town, 
you still can’t know what it is like.


The “Shanty town” from above

A shanty town, according to 
is ‘a slum settlement of plywood, corrugated 
metal, sheets of plastic, and cardboard boxes. 
They are usually found on the periphery of 
cities, public parks, or near railroad tracks, 
rivers, lagoons or city trash dump sites. 
Sometimes called a squatter, informal or 
spontaneous settlement, shanty towns often lack 
proper sanitation, safe water supply, 
electricity, hygienic streets, or other basic human necessities.’

Some of the 
experienced by people living in shanty towns are:

- Overcrowding - shanty towns tend to have a population density.
- Fires - fires can spread quickly in shanty 
towns, and shacks burn very quickly.
- Overpopulation - resources insufficient to support the population.
- High competition for jobs, because they’re in short supply
- Disease - poor sanitation and limited health 
care can lead to the spread of disease.
- Infrastructure - services are poor, public 
transport is limited and connections to the 
electricity supply can be limited and sometimes dangerous.

Here’s what a real shack looks like. (Source: 
- Daily life in South African township – Khayelitsha)

And here’s what a real shanty town looks like 
- Daily life in South African township – Khayelitsha)

I apologise if this comes across as didactic, but 
it appears there are still some people on this 
planet who have no idea of what it means to live in a slum/shanty town.

There are 
billion people worldwide living in slums, and 
I'll hazard a guess that not one of this billion 
would continue to do so if they had a choice. 
Choice is the reason why the idea of 
“experiencing” what it is like is complete nonsense.

If you have to live in a shack built from 
cardboard and corrugated metal sheets, you are, 
relatively speaking, poor, and poverty is about 
not having choices. by accident of birth, you 
find yourself growing up and living in a shack in 
a shanty town. It’s not a moral failing, though 
some people appear to see it as such, but to the 
person living in a shack it can feel like 
failure, mainly because that’s the message society transmits.

Poverty is about having limited prospects and 
battling uphill with both hands tied behind your 
back. It’s about people treating you like an 
idiot and not listening to you when you speak, 
simply because they had the good fortune to have 
been born under circumstances more favourable 
than yours. It’s about fighting every day to hang 
on to your dignity, while others, knowingly or 
inadvertently, try to strip you of it. It’s about 
constant worry: will you have enough to eat 
tomorrow? Next week? Can you afford to get ill, 
and what happens if you do? Will your shack be 
demolished tomorrow morning because it was built 
"illegally', rendering you homeless? You can’t 
experience any of that unless you actually are 
poor, and you can’t walk away from poverty, or 
from your shack, overnight or in a week or when 
you've had enough of the "experience". So all any 
guest in one of these “shack” will experience is a night or more of camping.

But this is camping in style, so “Shanty Town's” 
shacks have the following amenities:

Under floor heating                 Long-drop effect toilets
Donkey geysers                      Electricity
Electrical geysers                    Bathroom with shower
Braai facilities on request

They even have Wi-Fi! Exactly like regular shacks, then.

In a country where the gap between rich and poor 
so wide, these Emoya people are really taking the 
piss. Please 
them know what you think of their idea.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <https://mailman.gn.apc.org/mailman/private/diggers350/attachments/20131216/5e4f64d6/attachment.html>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: not available
Type: application/x-ygp-stripped
Size: 252 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <https://mailman.gn.apc.org/mailman/private/diggers350/attachments/20131216/5e4f64d6/attachment.bin>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: not available
Type: application/x-ygp-stripped
Size: 252 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <https://mailman.gn.apc.org/mailman/private/diggers350/attachments/20131216/5e4f64d6/attachment-0001.bin>

More information about the Diggers350 mailing list