Drone Photos Capture The Lines Dividing Rich And Poor In South Africa

For half a century, Apartheid gripped South Africa, its systematic racial segregation seeping into the country's architecture. Between 1948 and 1994, intentional segregation gave the government the ability to control the black community and reduce their access to education and resources, leading to an extreme division of wealth.

Amidst the racial, economic and civic inequality, architecture came to play a central role in furthering that divide, and by the time the early 90s arrived and the suppression ended, roads, rivers, fields and walls had created "buffer zones" separating people by race – and status.

Cape Town-based photographer Johnny Miller used a drone to capture this "architecture of apartheid" with a bird’s eye view on the lines of inequality.

In his photo series Unequal Scenes, Miller shows areal shots of Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban taken by a drone that show (even in a post-apartheid society) how urban landscapes still carry the shadow of institutionalized racism. Miller says:

"Twenty-two years after the end of apartheid, many of these barriers, and the inequalities they have engendered, still exist."

Kya Sands/Bloubosrand, Johannesburg (Photo: Johnny Miller)

The story of Kya Sands is a story of ash, smoke, and broken promises." Kya Sands/Bloubosrand, Johannesburg (Photo: Johnny Miller/Millefoto)

"Existing in this 'middle space' reinforces the notion of living on the fringe, alienated and marginalised." Strand/Nomzamo, Cape Town (Photo: Johnny Miller)

"Existing in this 'middle space' reinforces the notion of living on the fringe, alienated and marginalised." Strand/Nomzamo, Cape Town (Photo: Johnny Miller/Millefoto)

"The graves and the shacks, side by side, were extremely eerie to me. I imagined that the ghosts of one haunt the ghosts of the other." Vusimuzi/Mooifontein Cemetery, Johannesburg (Photo: Johnny Miller/Millefoto)

"The graves and the shacks, side by side, were extremely eerie to me. I imagined that the ghosts of one haunt the ghosts of the other." Vusimuzi/Mooifontein Cemetery, Johannesburg (Photo: Johnny Miller/Millefoto)

In the photos, you can see wealthy homes with pools and gardens in leafy suburban neighbourhoods just a stone's throw away from tin shacks in dusty lands, often separated by a lake, golf club, or sometimes just a bushy fence.

"Discrepancies in how people live are sometimes hard to see from the ground," Miller explains. "The beauty of being able to fly is to see things from a new perspective - to see things as they really are."

"Some communities have been expressly designed with separation in mind, and some have grown more or less organically. 

By providing a new perspective on an old problem, I hope to provoke a dialogue which can begin to address the issues of inequality and disenfranchisement in a constructive and peaceful way."

For more photos and to read the story behind the neighbourhoods, visit Unequal Scenes and follow Johnny Miller.

"In a twist of irony, the golf course is named after an apartheid-era golfer of Indian descent, named Sewsunker 'Papwa' Sewgolum." Papwa Sewgolum Golf Course, Durban (Photo: Johnny Miller)

"In a twist of irony, the golf course is named after an apartheid-era golfer of Indian descent, named Sewsunker 'Papwa' Sewgolum." Papwa Sewgolum Golf Course, Durban (Photo: Johnny Miller/Millefoto)

"The line of trees which divides the two hides what I can only assume is a heavily fortified fence." Hout Bay, Cape Town (Photo: Johnny Miller/Millefoto)

"The line of trees which divides the two hides what I can only assume is a heavily fortified fence." Hout Bay/Imizamo Yethu, Cape Town (Photo: Johnny Miller/Millefoto)

" I see the wetlands between them as a sort of no-man’s land; an area too scary to venture into from either side." Masiphumelele/Lake Michelle, Cape Town (Photo: Johnny Miller/Millefoto)

"I see the wetlands between them as a sort of no-man’s land; an area too scary to venture into from either side." Masiphumelele/Lake Michelle, Cape Town (Photo: Johnny Miller/Millefoto)

"The visual difference between the two is stark." Vukuzenzele/Sweet Home, Cape Town (Photo: Johnny Miller, Millefoto)

"The visual difference between the two is stark." Vukuzenzele/Sweet Home, Cape Town (Photo: Johnny Miller, Millefoto)

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