When stories are told about African poverty, race often seems to play a large part. Based in Senegal, Reuters photographer Finbarr O'Reilly (previously featured here for his work in DR Congo) traveled to South Africa earlier this year and visited one of a growing number of squatter camps populated mostly by Afrikaners - white South Africans - to document their stories and help show that, despite the fact that impoverished blacks in the region far outnumber whites, poverty is a human issue, not necessarily racial.
O'Reilly: "While most white South Africans still enjoy lives of privilege and relative wealth, the number of poor whites has risen steadily over the past 15 years. Researchers now estimate some 450,000 whites, of a total white population of 4.5 million, live below the poverty line and 100,000 are struggling just to survive in places such Coronation Park, a former caravan camp currently home to more than 400 white squatters. Formerly comfortable Afrikaners recently forced to live on the fringes of society see themselves as victims of 'reverse-apartheid' that they say puts them at an even greater disadvantage than the millions of poor black South Africans." (27 photos total)
Andre Coetzee, 57, drinks a mug of coffee at a squatter camp for poor white South Africans at Coronation Park in Krugersdorp, South Africa on March 6, 2010. A shift in racial hiring practices and the recent global economic crisis means many white South Africans have fallen on hard times. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly)