This study focuses on the role of racial identities in a society undergoing social transformation. Specifically, it looks at the construction of racial identity of black ‘middle class’ students at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. It examines how these students’ understandings of being black, using ''race'' as part of their identity, are constructed by drawing the boundaries to a collective identity and experienced through feelings of belonging. Young black South African students are moving into a world that was previously not for them, and find themselves in an ‘in-between’ position: between a historically constructed black world and a multiracial environment of the new South Africa. In this tension between different racial identities, the author argues, students strategically employ different discourses in order to both legitimate their position in society and preserve their ‘blackness’. This study will be useful for anyone looking to deepen their theoretical knowledge on discourses of racial identity, as well as their understanding of the changing meaning of race in South Africa.