Rich and poor area: Where wealth and poverty live side-by-side in Cape Town

Take note of how the prosperous and impoverished districts of Cape Town vary. This is particularly clear from a bird’s eye perspective, as captured by photographer Johnny Miller. He photographed several portions of the city using a drone equipped with a high-definition camera.

Cape Town is known not just for its stunning cityscapes but also for the dramatic contrast between luxury and poverty. Despite the fact that South Africa’s apartheid period ended more than two decades ago, there is still a visible economic divide between the city’s blacks and whites.

Despite equal rights, the black majority continues to be at the bottom of society, suffering from profound poverty, unemployment, and sickness. Once you’re in the air, economic disparities become even more evident.

This was proven by Johnny Miller, an American photographer based in Cape Town. Below are some images from ‘Unequal Scenes,’ his most photo session.

Rich and poor neighborhoods in Cape Town
Rich and poor area. (©Johnny Miller/Millefoto)
Narrow swaths of land separate several of the neighborhoods
Narrow swaths of land separate several of the neighborhoods. (Photo courtesy of Johnny Miller/Millefoto)
Rich and poor neighborhoods
Rich and poor neighborhoods. (©Johnny Miller/Millefoto)

“Drone photography is fascinating because it provides people a fresh perspective on areas they’ve seen before,” Miller said. The photographer flew his drone over some of Cape Town’s most diverse areas, including Masiphumelele. A village of 38,000 people lives in cramped, miserable shacks, while a posh neighborhood with mansions worth millions of dollars is just over the street.

These destitute areas are a true urban hell, rife with sickness, crime, unemployment, rage, and despair. At the same time, the neighborhood offers all of life’s abundant pleasures: internet, vehicles, facilities, swimming pools, jobs, hope…

Several of the communities are separated by narrow patches of land.
Several of the communities are separated by narrow patches of land. (Photo credit: Millefoto/Johnny Miller)

Electric fences and guards, as well as natural barriers like swamps and lakes, are used to physically separate portions of these ultra-rich districts from the run-down shanties.

Rich and poor area: Where wealth and poverty live side-by-side in Cape Town
Rich and poor neighborhoods in Cape Town. (©Johnny Miller/Millefoto)

Many of these neighborhoods were built with this division in mind, while others developed spontaneously. Miller claims that the issue isn’t exclusive to Cape Town. Other South African towns, such as Durban and Johannesburg, have similar diverse sceneries.

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