Africa's Lost Souls

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There is hell on earth. it is just north of Angola's capital, below the sprawl of the teeming informal market of Roque Santeiro — one of Africa's biggest — where years of refuse dumping have formed a scarred ridge of eroded ground and spewed garbage. More than 1,000 people live here. They are born here, they breed, bleed and die here. Only the devil could have come up with the name for this place: Boa Vista, which means beautiful outlook.

The outlook for the garbage-dump people of Boa Vista is a fly-blown, post-apocalyptic scene of desolation at the...