Not sure if I am the only one but I feel an overriding sense of nausea that a term like “poverty tourism” even exists….and that we, South Africa, fall within the top 5 destinations. Before you get excited this is not a competition worth winning.

Allow me to make this a notch more real –

How about I come to your middle class subarb with a cab, or even better a taxi (just to give it more authenticity) full of really rich people and drive them through your streets so that they can take pictures of you and your kids and your little 2 bedroom houses and your poor 5 year old Yaris’ and Polo’s. I’ll make comments like “Did you know many of these families require two incomes…just to survive.” or “In some situations children even have to share bedrooms.”

I will let them take group shots with your kids in Mr price clothing, that may even be hand me downs *gasp*. We will sample some of your chicken casserole and macaroni and cheese just to get a taste of what you have to deal with.

Not to worry though – when we are done we will do some form of charity work (if you’re lucky) so all your being treated like zoo animals won’t go to waste.

Do you sense any of my anger? Because it’s there.
What I hate about this situation is that it’s sold as a tit for tat sort of deal.
my money for your poorness.

Yes I know it brings Money from the west to our sucky economy but aren’t there a few tour operators who are really just pimping out our poor?

(Sidebar this post stems from an experience that I probably should of let sizzle out before posting, so I apologize for any offence, although I feel we should be offended.)

Jenna Jay.

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2 thoughts on “Poverty pimps.

  1. You know, i have previously been involved in community work and community workshops dealing with socio-economic risk(s) within all regions in the Cape Metro. I know what you talking about, i also feel that offence should be taken, but sometimes, the communities need every single bit of economic upliftment it can get, and yes they ride it hard to squeeze everything they can get out of it. SO at the end of the day it places them between the proverbial rock and the proverbial hard place. It leads to a community with a facade, and the facade works both ways, sometimes the community is much worse of than the positive facade being portrayed, and in the same breathe you get communities that are thriving, but still put up a “negative” facade , because that is how the community has garnered support initially from external sources. So i feel the scenario is much more dynamic than you are portraying it to be, but still accurate to a degree.

    • HI Lloyd,

      I somewhat agree with your points above.
      I think my issues lie fundamentally with the tour operators running the tours.
      Is there any regulation of how these funds are being sowed back into the community. Are there percentages? Or is this up to their discretion? It just seems any one is given free reign to in some way “pimp” out our rural communities for their own benefit which is for me the most sickening part.
      Now I get that my post was tongue in cheek but don’t get me wrong i understand this is a complex issue and these programmes have a few merits.

      I just really wanted to open up this dialogue.
      Thanks for your comment!

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