This paper presents a study conducted on the role of brands in Black middle class society in South Africa. The study was inspired by the phenomenal growth of Black household consumption observed in recent years in South Africa. Popular media have publicised views that Black middle class consumption of brands is fuelled by a desire to acquire and affirm status, often sparking debate amongst politicians, businessmen and the general public. This research investigated the factors fuelling consumption of branded goods in this social group and the factors considered in choosing a brand. The study was exploratory in nature and interviewed ten South African Black individuals broadly classified as middle class. The finding of the study largely confirmed reviewed theory, suggesting that the consumption patterns of South African Black middle class society is neither unique nor strange, but an age-old phenomenon supported by the theories of consumer behaviour, sociology and economics. Due to the qualitative nature of the study, no generalisable conclusions could be reached. It is recommended that further research into South African consumption behaviour be conducted, in particular the price elasticity of demand for brands.