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.

A drone image showing the architectural reminder of South-African apartheid.
Image: Quartz

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.

And while it’s no secret that segregation and inequality persist in the country, Miller’s photos have elicited a strong response. The first of his photographs has circulated widely, with over a 240,000 views on his own Facebook post where it receives both praise and criticism. Thanks to the comments section of his own website, the visceral reaction to Miller’s work is in full public view, an example of the often toxic public debate on race and inequality in South Africa.

A drone image showing the architectural reminder of South-African apartheid.
Image: Quartz
 A drone image showing the architectural reminder of South-African apartheid.
Image: Quartz
 A drone image showing the architectural reminder of South-African apartheid.
Image: Quartz
 A drone image showing the architectural reminder of South-African apartheid.
Image: Quartz