This paper initiates the project of mapping the class structure of South Africa at the end of the apartheid era. The theoretical bases of class in the advanced industrialised societies of the North are revised to render them more appropriate for South African conditions. This entails emphasising not only the differences between employers and employees and those between working people in service relationships and those with labour contracts, but also the differences between those with formal labour contracts and those who sell their labour on a more informal basis. Data from household surveys is used to construct several alternative but crude class categories. It is shown that there are strong correlations between class and income, children’s schooling and aspects of health. Further research is required to demonstrate that class is – or is not – consequential in a range of other respects.