The transition, in 1994, in South Africa from an authoritarian ethno-nationalist Apartheid state where racial categories determined inclusion and exclusion to a liberal democratic state, raised the promise of greater inclusion within society. Paradoxically, in a context which enabled greater engagement with Africa, the new ‘Rainbow Nation'' with an emphasis on nation-building and emerging nationalism, led to a rise in manifestations of xenophobic discrimination. However, it could be argued, not all immigrants are subject to such form discrimination. In the new South Africa, targeting the black African immigrant, in particular, has resulted in a new cycle of exclusion. Black African immigrants, however, are not a monolithic grouping. The study argues that whilst all black African immigrants potentially experience xenophobia, socio- economic status may mitigate the extent and immediacy of this, as well as the ability to escape or avoid such experiences to some extent. This study can be useful for policy makers, academics and anyone who is interested in understanding the dynamics of social exclusion in general and South African in particular.