This article engages with the limits to liberation in Southern African societies under former liberation movements. It argues that the policies executed in the new societies are still infected by substantial elements of the old power structures and mindsets claimed to be left behind. The five former anti-colonial movements in Angola (since 1974), Mozambique (since 1975), Zimbabwe (since 1980), Namibia (since 1990) and South Africa (since 1994) exercise, as governments, continued control over the sovereign states. But the majority of the electorate has outgrown the struggle days. Their expectations are measured against the promises and failures, rather than the expected reward for being ‘liberated’ – which as ‘born frees’ they have never been. This fuels frustration and causes new conflicts, which at the same time tend to reproduce old and new dichotomies and battle lines, blending (and at times confusing) the notions of race and class. Contrasting realities with original hopes, the analysis points to the mission not yet accomplished.