First published in 1999, this study of the politics of education in Cameroon, the Congo and Kenya presents arresting empirical evidence that urban elites exiting public sector educational systems they have dominated in favour of private school networks of their own creation. Seeking to enhance their offspring’s chances for survival and even domination in a world of scarce resources and limited opportunities for employment, elites see private schools as tools to shape newly emerging civil societies in Africa in their own image. From a theoretical perspective, the fresh evidence presented here shows that schooling has once again become a major social force influencing the balance of state and society in modern Africa. Re-examining an older political tradition of class analysis and integrating it into more recent civil society perspectives, the author shows that the abandonment of the unreliable education services of dysfunctional African states in favour of private schools has profound consequences for class articulation in societies dividing, once again, according to educational opportunities.