At the time Transformation began publishing, radical thought in South Africa insisted that class, not race, was the country's essential social cleavage. Decades later, it has become clear that this view vastly under-estimated race's importance. A quarter century into formal democracy, it is race rather than class which frames politics. The most poignant evidence of this reality is that campaigns for change routinely use the language of egalitarianism and redistribution to justify demands which do not serve the interests of people living in poverty. This is so because these campaigns are driven by demands for racial, not class, change. While class domination remains an important reality in the society, race remains so primary a cleavage that 'class politics' is usually shaped by racial power disparities and responses to them.