The Mega-Rich Who Pay To Vacation In A Fake Slum Village

“In truth, poverty is an anomaly to rich people. It is very difficult to make out why people who want dinner do not ring the bell.” —Walter Bagehot, The Waverley Novels

In A Nutshell

Imagine you had zillions of dollars. What would you do? You could go mad in Las Vegas, play the stock market like a total boss, or spend the rest of your life cruising round the Mediterranean. On the other hand, you could also shell out hundreds of dollars to stay in a fake South African shantytown, set up to enable luxury tourists to experience “poverty” without discomfort.

The Whole Bushel

Every now and then, a story about the mega-rich will come along that sorely tempts you to just give it all up and become a Marxist revolutionary. This is one of those stories.

South Africa is a country of extreme divides—between rich and poor, white and black, urban and countryside. The very richest live a life of utter luxury, while the very poorest are herded into shantytowns that are rife with violence, addiction, and misery. For a rich Westerner, the idea of traveling through one of these towns and experiencing a frisson of authentic poverty can seem pretty tempting. Unfortunately, it also means having to encounter actual, real, poor people and maybe even engaging in a tiny bit of activism. But now a hotel chain has come up with a solution: They’ve constructed a “luxury shantytown” so wealthy people can pretend to slum it for nearly $100 a night.

Situated in a private reserve and built from corrugated iron, the complex is intended to be hired out for theme nights and parties (or simply because you’re a callous blowhard). Shacks come complete with underfloor heating and free Wi-Fi and are intended to give an “authentic” experience of South African poverty. As you may have guessed, this “authenticity” doesn’t stretch to any level of discomfort or anything more than simply looking slummy.

Now, this isn’t the first time companies have tried stuff like this: There’s a hotel in London that charges extra to let you stay in what appears to be decrepit squat. But it may be the first time any company has tried it with such a staggering lack of tact. As Time magazine noted, this is a “whole different kind of tone deaf.”

Show Me The Proof

Time: Rich Tourists Now Staying in Luxury ‘Shanty Towns’ So They Can Pretend to Be Poor
A Fake Slum for Luxury Tourists Who Don’t Want to See Real Poverty

  • Rijul Ballal

    Brace yourselves people arguing about the description of SA are coming.

  • Marozia

    Do the ‘mega-poor’ get to have a holiday in a fake rich village?

    • WhiteExodus

      I hope there is, if not I will lose my faith in humanity.

      • Sewo

        Prepare to lose it.

    • Hadeskabir

      Yes, as waiters and cleaners.

      • Marozia

        And get minimum wage for the work too.

      • Karmala

        That’s depressing because its true.

  • Karmala

    “you could also shell out hundreds of dollars to stay in a fake South African shantytown, set up to enable luxury tourists to experience “poverty” without discomfort”. That just sums up everything that is so messed up about our world.

  • Mayisha Kabir

    ‘Every now and then, a story about the mega-rich will come along that sorely tempts you to just give it all up and become a Marxist revolutionary. This is one of those stories.’ couldn’t agree more……..

    • Eoghan-Tony Dwyer

      Or do whatever it takes to become one of the mega-rich

  • WhiteExodus

    Anyone else wants to become a Marxist Revolutionist with me? Every member who joins gets a free Che Guevara T-shirt!

    • Hadeskabir

      You should know the truth…

      • WhiteExodus

        Meh sounds about right, on a side note his face does make a great looking T-shirt.

        • Hadeskabir

          It’s ironic that a man who is known for fighting the system has his face everywhere created by the system he fought against. I would say it’s a defeat of his ideals.

  • Hillyard

    Never thought I’d write this, but good article Morris. Really, really disenchanting, but good. I wonder if anyone has ever done a study comparing the amount of money in someones bank account to their level of douchebaggery? Could prove interesting.

    • Edmund Tobin Leibert III

      If that theory becomes to start being blindly believed, then you can say my public view from now will be royally screwed.

  • Kaydot Mcdiamonds

    Trust me. We aren’t happy about it either. I was shocked when I saw the story on the local news a few weeks ago. It’s plain disgusting. Some of our political parties and trade unions have criticized the owner for glamorizing poverty and he said that he’s trying to promote South African life and he’s creating jobs for the poor people he hires. It’s just bullshit

  • SugarMag26

    I’m ready for that revolution now.

  • Passin’ Through

    So spending $100 per night at a hotel makes you mega-rich? What am I missing?

    • Hadeskabir

      For dirt poor people like me spending $100 per night at a hotel is being mega-rich lol

      • lotusplague

        Dude that’s the price of a Full List on listverse.com!!!

        • Hadeskabir

          I know, the writers must be mega-rich!

  • pronto

    Heartwarming.

  • Colonel Duke LaCrosse

    “They’ve constructed a “luxury shantytown” so wealthy people can pretend to slum it for nearly $100 a night.” I did not know that being able to afford a 100 dollar a night room qualified someone as wealthy.

  • Nomsheep

    You seem to have gotten mega rich and middle class confused

  • P5ychoRaz

    Anyone that wants to experience poverty is more than welcome to stay at my apartment. I only charge $50/night!

  • Alex

    Reality Cheque……interesting discussion. I feel bad for the impoverished….but….why are some rich and some poor when they had the same backgrounds? Character can be involved in a few cases, so let that inspire us…there are those with terrible backgrounds who became well off through their own hard work, but also, because someone took the time to help them, to see a way out. Let us work hard for ourselves, for success…but also, let us help others help themselves with just as much effort. Handouts are not the best way to help humans, in many cases. Personal success can be shared with others.