In this analysis, synthetic cohort data from repeated cross-sections is used to examine trends in earnings for men and women in the South African labour market. Life cycle trends show that the age-earnings profiles for African men and women do not display the expected ‘hump shape’ from a Mincerian wage regression. Labour force participation and employment trends show that African men and women seem to be dropping out of the labour market at an early age which might explain the continuously upward sloping age-earnings profiles. The earnings trajectories of more recent cohorts of men and women are above those of older cohorts showing that younger cohorts have experienced gains in earnings over time. The gains in earnings, however, are higher for women than for men. Cohort data also reveals that more recent cohorts of both men and women are less likely to be married and less likely to belong to a trade union. More recent cohorts of women are on average more educated than their male counterparts. These results suggest that there has been a “cohort replacement” in the Post-Apartheid labour market where younger cohorts of women with better labour market characteristics have replaced older cohorts. This has resulted in the narrowing of the gender wage gap in recent years.