In his powerful collection, “Unequal Scenes,” photographer Johnny Miller captured the starkness of income equality in South Africa from the air.
Shot hundreds of meters above the ground, Miller’s striking images capture the distinct lines created across neighborhoods and communities during apartheid. In addition to legislation, roads, barriers, and even natural markers, like steep slopes and rivers, were used to segregate the population by race.
Though apartheid ended in 1994, racial and income inequality persist, as do these literal borders between wealth and poverty.
See five of these severe contrasts for yourself through Miller’s remarkable photography.
1. The power lines that separate the Vusimuzi settlement from the neighboring cemetery carry electricity to parts of Johannesburg, but not Vusimuzi.
Electricity, sanitation, and schools are difficult to come by despite the fact that the settlement sits in Gauteng, one of the wealthiest provinces in South Africa.
2. Hout Bay, the scenic fishing area near Cape Town, sits beside Imizamo Yethu, a densely populated suburb with rows of small shacks.
3. Tourists ride horses and surf along the Southern Cape Peninsula, but just a stone’s throw away from this carefree region, thousands of people go without basic resources.
4. The sixth hole of the Papwa Sewgolum Golf Course is just a few meters away from an informal settlement in Durban, South Africa.
Oddly enough, the course was named for a golfer of Indian descent who won the Natal Open in 1965. Since people of color weren’t allowed in the Durban Country Club, Sewgolum had to receive his trophy outside in the rain.
5. On the edge of Johannesburg, a popular suburb and a long-suffering settlement sit side-by-side.
On the left is Bloubosrand, a middle-class suburb with winding tree-lined streets and swimming pools. On the right is Kya Sands, an informal settlement home to more than 16,000 people — many without electricity or well-constructed housing.
Though South Africa is not the only country where these abrupt borders exist, each one serves as a reminder of the long-standing effects of segregation and income inequality.
Whether it’s apartheid or gentrification, the forced removal or pricing out of locals from their communities is senseless and cruel. To see once thriving areas stripped of resources and character is, at best, disheartening and, at worst, criminal.
But projects like this keep this crisis top of mind, and remind each of us to speak up and champion racial and income equality at every opportunity.
See the complete “Unequal Scenes” collection here.