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On vacation, poverty is the new luxury

December 4th, 2013
12:55 PM ET

By Lucky Gold, CNN

“Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” – the long-awaited biopic of the life of Nelson Mandela – opened last week to glowing reviews in New York and Los Angeles.

It is opening this week in London, and has already has broken the box office record in Mandela's homeland of South Africa.

It was sixteen years in the making; so much in the rainbow nation has changed that filmmakers had to find new locations for iconic sites like the infamous shanty-town of Soweto, where middle-class housing and shopping malls have replaced many of the dusty streets where Mandela once walked.

Now imagine a world where you can experience the old Soweto – complete with central heating, optional breakfast and Wi-Fi.

Emoya Luxury Hotel and Spa – a five-star game resort some 250 miles from the real Soweto – is offering a safe and sanitized shanty town experience for its wealthy tourist trade.

Forget Disneyworld – you and your family can walk manicured dirt roads, past colorful shacks made of corrugated tin, with outdoor toilets and open fires and even roaming animals, and you can still bed down in comfort in your all-electric hovel.

It's called poverty tourism, or “poorism,” and it's not unique to South Africa.

In Rio de Janeiro and Mumbai walking tours of some of the world's largest slums are a popular draw.

Callous exploitation, or consciousness-raising?

One thing's for sure: poverty is the new luxury.

soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Jamesson Cardozo

    You dont need pay this expansive hotel, just give a little love to the poor people and you'll feel how they live!

    December 5, 2013 at 11:42 am | Reply
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