Locals cheer as pope visits Nairobi slum

Locals line the streets of a Nairobi slum, welcoming Pope Francis as he pays a visit to the Kenyan capital – the first leg of his African tour.

NAIROBI, KENYA (NOVEMBER 27, 2015) (REUTERS) – Crowds lined the streets of Kangemi, a poor neighbourhood in Nairobi, hoping to catch a glimpse of Pope Francis as he arrived on Friday (November 27) for a visit to a local parish.

People gathered along the road, outside shops and small businesses, waving and cheering as they waited for the pontiff drive past.

The pope, making his first visit to Africa, has championed the plight of the poor both in public declarations and his own way of life, shunning the institutional perks of the Vatican.

Kenya is the first stop on his Africa tour, and he is due to wrap up his visit later on Friday, moving onto Uganda and then on Sunday (November 29) to the Central African Republic, a grindingly poor nation riven by Muslim-Christian sectarian conflict.

Inside Kangemi’s St. Joseph the Worker Church, the atmosphere was festive ahead of the pope’s arrival, with parishioners singing and dancing, and breaking into loud cheers and applause as he entered.

Addressing slum dwellers, charity workers and clergy during the mass, the pope spoke of the “dreadful injustice of urban exclusion” represented in such poor areas.

He criticised private developers who he said hoarded areas of land and even attempt to appropriate the playgrounds of your schools but he said communal values in poor districts showed there was an alternative culture to the “god of money.”

He said one of biggest challenges was a lack of basic amenities, saying the world had a grave social debt towards the poor who lacked access to clean drinking water.

Francis has made advocacy for the poor a centre point of his tenure, born out of his time spent in slums and soup kitchens as a church leader before becoming pope in 2013.