Abstract: Post-apartheid nationalism intended to bind South Africans together through a common identity, rooted not in the old racial divisions but membership in a multi-racial democracy known as the “rainbow nation.” Attempts at post-apartheid nation building, however, did not successfully address the structural inequalities left over from apartheid. Not only have these internal socio-economic divisions persisted but the search for cohesion under a national identity further opened the door to the kind of xenophobic, anti-immigrant nationalism that appears to be on the rise throughout the world. This paper looks at Kopano Matlwa’s latest novel Period Pain and the way in which it illustrates the rise in xenophobic, nationalistic violence towards immigrants, which has troubled South Africa over the past decade. Her novel reflects both the rise of new nationalisms, and the re-emergence of old nationalisms which never fully disappeared.