One of Africa's most densely populated slums is quite a reality check, yet its residents are surprisingly welcoming.
Settled by Dakarites evicted by urban redevelopment, it's gritty yet also inspiring.
Senegal is of course a society of great contrasts - dynamic and culturally rich, yet also undeveloped, poor, and chronically mired in political crisis. One symptom of this, dating back to before independence, is the city of Pikine, just east of Dakar - established in 1952 to house Dakar residents displaced by urban redevelopment. Today it's Senegal's (and pretty much Africa's) most densely populated slum, and its denizens are known as déguerpis, referring to the fact that they (or rather, their grandparents) were summarily evicted from their original dwellings. It's kind of like visiting a favela in Rio de Janeiro or a township in Cape Town - a gritty reminder of today's reality. Yet at the same time, it's also moving and inspiring to see that despite their hardships, local residents are able to greet visitors with kindness and generosity.
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