In this article, I explore the utility of effectively maintained inequality theory in examining educational inequality in South Africa at the end of the apartheid era. As an obviously unequal country, South Africa provides an excellent opportunity to test the claim that even with large quantitative differences in achievement, qualitative differences will matter. Using data from the early 1990s, I find that there were extensive quantitative differences in secondary school transitions across respondents in different racial categories. The minority White population was consistently able to achieve both more and better education. At the same time, though, qualitative distinctions mattered. For the majority of the population, particularly Africans, the quality of education attained varied across parental background. These outcomes are important not only for examining the veracity of effectively maintained inequality, both in terms of racial and class differences but also because they illustrate how educational differences have served to perpetuate inequality over time in a society that no longer allows for the explicit denial of opportunity by race.