Some stories are not stories at all. They are a reality. Rather than hiding them in the background and presenting a spotless front, a woman sat me down and encouraged me to write. She lived in a corrugated iron house, which resembled a collage of materials.

Corrugated irons, road signage, wooden parts and plastics were all assembled to make up her home. Used car tyres were placed on top of her home to keep the parts together and patch up the leaks. There were evident holes in the structure that let in the rain.

The woman saw me in the vicinity with a camera and asked what I was doing. I told her that I was a travel blogger and did not have anything specific that I wanted to write about. She begged me to write about all that I had seen, especially the warmth of the people and encourage tourists to visit squatter camps.

According to the resident, many residents were unemployed. If “squatter camp tourism” was promoted by bloggers, she believes that jobs would be created. It would allegedly lead to better roads, more visible policing, tourists buying local merchandise and a much needed resuscitation of the economy.

I asked her what to say to promote this type of tourism and she asked me not to highlight the dirt, crime, limited infrastructure and hunger. When I pressed her on what I should say, she said I should encourage people to taste their delicious home-cooked meals and drinks like gemmer (an often fermented ginger drink).

I was instructed to write about their awesome hospitality and to beg people in advance not to over bargain because due to extreme poverty, community members will drop prices for tourists in order to survive; however even though they’d still smile, over negotiating with their entrepreneurs was like stealing from the poorest of the poor. 

A woman walks home at the end of a day at squatter camp settlements in Pretoria. Photo by Phindiwe NkosiA woman walks home at the end of a day at squatter camp settlements in Pretoria. Photo by Phindiwe Nkosi

Shacks and [shipping] "container homes" in the northern part of Pretoria, Gauteng. Photo by Phindiwe NkosiShacks and [shipping] "container homes" in the northern part of Pretoria, Gauteng. Photo by Phindiwe Nkosi

A pile of dirt lies next to the side of the road in a squatter camp in the North West. Photo by Phindiwe NkosiA pile of dirt lies next to the side of the road in a squatter camp in the North West. Photo by Phindiwe Nkosi

Shacks in the North West. Photo by Phindiwe NkosiShacks in the North West. Photo by Phindiwe Nkosi

 

Comments   

 
0 # Yes!Nontuthu Sithole 2016-11-19 07:02
Bumped into this blog and can't get enough. Refreshing to see a travel blogger also write about places most travel bloggers won't dare to acknowledge. These are some of the places that make up mzansi.
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0 # ThanksGoodmore Mahlangu 2016-11-19 07:15
I agree. Travel bloggers in Africa need to showcase all aspects of tourism as tourism can and does create jobs for people.
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0 # DankieSussie Koor 2016-11-19 07:32
Lekker lees, dankie P
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