Slum It Like The Poor At This 'Shanty Town' Hotel?

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emoyaPhoto: Courtesy Of Emoya Hotel.
Have you ever wondered what it might be like to spend a night in a South African slum? That's what the owners of the Emoya Hotel must've thought could be the perfect tagline for the company's latest concept: Shanty Town. For about $82 per night, guests in Bloemfontein, South Africa can sleep in corrugated metal shacks, read by the light of paraffin lamps, and do a number two in the "long drop" outdoor toilets. Emoya breathlessly boasts that it is "the only Shanty Town in the world equipped with under-floor heating and wireless internet access."

Emoya claims that the Shanty Town is "ideal for team building, braais, fancy theme parties, and an experience of a lifetime." Unlike real slums, these accommodations "are completely safe and child friendly."

This isn't the first time better-off South Africans have opted to forego their creature comforts for the reality of poverty. One such family moved to the slums of Mamelodi for a month as an "experiment in radical empathy,” living in a one-room shack with no electricity or running water, and blogging about their experiences.

Nor is this first hotel to play with the concept of slumming it, for lack of a better term. Last year, a Swedish newspaper launched a series of hotels that allowed guests to viscerally experience homelessness, offering dirty mattresses and sleeping bags beneath piles of leaves and under bridges. But Faktum, the homeless-run nonprofit publication that organized the endeavor, intended to raise awareness about poverty, and revenues went back into supporting its publication and its staff.

This, however, is just plain ignorance. (Time)