Slum tourism

In Kibera, the large informal settlement in Nairobi, the residents are paraded like animals on safari for foreign tourists:

The Dutch tourists came well prepared for the walking safari: strong shoes and sunscreen, backpacks and bottled water. Ahead lay an afternoon visiting one of Kenya’s most recognisable sights – but one that rarely features in tourist brochures. “It might seem a bit strange to come here,” said Eric Schlangen, as the guide led him towards the sea of tin-roofed shacks that constitute Kibera, often described as one of the world’s largest slums. “But I wanted to see how people live in this country, not just the animals.” Slum tourism is taking off in Kenya. Several local organisations have started selling guided trips through Kibera, a short drive from the luxury hotels that serve most foreign visitors in Nairobi. For about £20, tourists are promised a glimpse into the lives of the hundreds of thousands of people crammed into tiny rooms along dirt paths littered with excrement-filled plastic bags known as “flying toilets”, as one tour agency explains on its website.

The Guardian.

Sean Jacobs

Sean Jacobs is on the international affairs faculty of The New School. He is the Founder and Editor of Africa is a Country.

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