For decades, South Africa was under apartheid: A series of laws divided people by race. Then, in the 1990s, those laws were dismantled. But many of the barriers they created continue to divide South Africans by skin color — determining their quality of life, access to jobs, and wealth. Racial division was built into the fabric of cities throughout South Africa, and it still hasn’t been uprooted.
That’s partly because while apartheid was the culmination of South Africa’s racial divisions, it wasn’t the beginning of them. That story starts closer to the 1800s, when the British built a network of railroads that transformed the region’s economy into one that excluded most Black people — and then made that exclusion the law.
To understand how this long history still impacts South Africans around the country today, watch the video above. You can find this video and all of Vox’s videos on our YouTube channel.