South African photographer and drone journalist, Johnny Miller, captures inequalities in our social fabric that have oftentimes been hidden and hard to see from ground level. Adjacent yet separate, visual barriers including the large structures prevent us from seeing the incredible contrasts that exist side by side in our cities. This series of photos in Miller's project titled, Unequal Scenes, intendeds to bring awareness to the hidden visuals of inequality that Miller has brought to sight.
Approximately half (49,2%) of the adult population were living below the upper-bound poverty line (UBPL).
According to the Living Conditions Survey (LCS) 2014/15, there were 35,1 million adults (aged 18 years and older) in South Africa in 2015. When looking at the poverty headcount by sex using the Upper Bound Poverty Line (UBPL), adult males and females experienced a headcount of 46,1% and 52,0%, respectively. Adult females experienced higher levels of poverty when compared to their male counterparts, regardless of the poverty line used.
"We were shocked to see tin shacks and dilapidated buildings hemmed into neat rows, bounded by the fences, roads, and parks of the wealthiest few…But it’s the very scale and unerring regularity across geographic regions which points to the systemic nature of inequality. This is not organic – this is planned and intentional disenfranchisement."
- Johnny Miller
Gauteng and the Western Cape had the lowest proportion of adults living in poverty (UBPL).
The provinces with the highest headcount of adult poverty are Limpopo (67,5%), Eastern Cape (67,3%), KwaZulu-Natal (60,7%) and North West (59,6%). For these four provinces, significantly more than half of their population were living in poverty. Gauteng and Western Cape had the lowest proportion of adults living in poverty at 29,3% and 33,2%, respectively.
According to the LCS 2014/15, approximately 40,0% of South Africans were living below the Upper Bound Poverty Line (UBPL). The poverty gap (the distance away from the poverty line) and severity of poverty measures were larger for female-headed households compared to households headed by males. The proportion of females living below the UBPL was 16,9 percentage points more than that of households headed by males (49,9% versus 33,0%). Almost six out of every ten households headed by males (59,3%) compared to over seven out of every ten households headed by females (74,8%) in traditional areas were living under the UBPL.
Other African countries featured in the "Unequal Scenes" series:
"Make no mistake – Unequal Scenes is an act of defiance. I defy the traditional power structures that keep these inequalities hidden so well from every direction except directly above. If the images provoke uncomfortable feelings of fear, despair, or an unsettling realisation of complicity – good. They are intended to."
- Johnny Miller
Through his AfricanDrone organisation, Miller is planning to visit different parts of the world and hopes to grow the Unequal Scenes project by involving students, activists, other photographers and anyone who's interested in seeing the world from through a different lens.