In Kenyan slum Pope singles out 'colonialism' of neglect

(Photo: REUTERS / Ahn Young-joon / Pool)Pope Francis is seen in his popemobile car as South Korean President Park Geun-hye (C) watches upon his arrival at Seoul Air Base in Seongnam August 14, 2014. Pope Francis arrived in the South Korean capital Seoul on Thursday after sending an unprecedented message of good will to China as he flew over the country that does not allow its Catholics to recognise his authority. Francis will spend five days in South Korea, meeting some of the country's five million Catholics on the first trip by a pontiff to Asia since 1999.

Nairobi is like a number of African capitals with swathes of shack-dwelling poor surrounding rich elites who live around high security walls, and Pope Francis has derided this inequality.

The Pope began his last day in Kenya on Nov. 27 with a visit to slum dwellers in the heart of Nairobi, the capital of a country considered as one of Africa's economic successes.

Speaking to the inhabitants of Kangemi slum made a passionate appeal for social inclusion, education and protection for families as a response to what he called the consequences of new forms of colonization.

There are about 2.5 million slum dwellers in Nairobi representing 60 per cent of the city's population and occupying just 6 per cent of the land.

One of the slums is called Kibera and is said to be the biggest and most populated slum in the world.

Organizers, however chose to host Pope Francis's visit is Kangemi.

It's known as "Nairobi's friendly slum" because it is less dangerous – less harrowing in its desperate poverty, than some of the other six slums in the city, Vatican News reported.

Francis denounced wealthy minorities who hoard resources at the expense of the poor as when he visited Kangemi.

"These are wounds inflicted by minorities who cling to power and wealth, who selfishly squander while a growing majority is forced to flee to abandoned, filthy and run-down peripheries," he said, AFP reported.

The Argentine pontiff spoke out against the "dreadful injustice of urban exclusion."

His light utility vehicle weaved through slum as residents greeted him with singing and ululating.

"I am here because I want you to know that I am not indifferent to your joys and hopes, your troubles and your sorrows," Francis told the packed congregation in Kangemi's St. Joseph the Worker church.

"I realize the difficulties which you experience daily. How can I not denounce the injustices which you suffer?"

Turning to the dearth of "infrastructures and basic services" such as sewerage, electricity, good roads, school and hospitals, Francis said, "They are a consequence of new forms of colonialism... countries are frequently pressured to adopt policies typical of the culture of waste."

Francis scrapped a prepared script when he addressed a packed Nairobi stadium with the down-to-earth and spontaneous style that has endeared him to Catholics and others around the world, Reuters news agency reported.

"The spirit of evil takes us to a lack of unity. It takes to tribalism, corruption and drugs. It takes us to destruction out of fanaticism," the Pope said, urging young people not to give in to these vices.

"Let's hold hands together, let's stand up as a sign against bad tribalism," he said, grasping the hands of two young people on stage.

After Kenya, the first leg of his Africa tour, the Pope left for Uganda on Nov. 27 and will visit the Central African Republic, a country riven by Christian-Muslim conflict on Nov. 29.

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