Drone images show the “architecture of apartheid” in Cape Town is still firmly in place

Drone images show the “architecture of apartheid” in cape town is still firmly in place
A drone view of the neighborhoods of Strand and Nomzamo in Cape Town / © Johnny Miller

In any city, space is a commodity. In South African cities space is historical and emotional. A new photo series by an American living in Cape Town captures the dramatic inequality of South Africa’s most beloved city. From an aerial view, Cape Town’s scenic beauty gives way to a stark reminder of the country’s past and the continued racial segregation.

The aerial images illustrate South Africa’s inequality. Its GINI index of 63.4 out of 100, is one of the highest in the world. The apartheid system, which lasted from 1948 to 1994, divided the country’s ethnic groups according to tribe and race and divided the country’s resources according to race, favoring white people.

“The actual city infrastructure has been created to keep various groups of people separate from one another. You can see this in all urban centers in South Africa, but Cape Town is particularly pronounced,” says Johnny Miller, a photographer who has been living in Cape Town since 2012.

South African cities and towns were designed to give white people access to the central businesses districts and homes in the leafy suburbs. Black people had to live far outside of the city, only venturing in for work. While apartheid has been over for more than two decades integrating these living spaces has remained a challenge and socioeconomic inequality is still stubbornly divided along race. […]