Most of the previous studies on intellectual capital disclosures have been conducted from developed countries' context. There is very limited empirical evidence in this area from the context of emerging economies in general and Africa in particular. This paper is one of the early attempts in this regard. The main purpose of this study is to examine the extent and nature of intellectual capitaldisclosures in ‘Top 20’ South African companies over a 5 years period (2002–2006). The study uses content analysis method to scrutinise the patterns of intellectual capital disclosures during the study period. The results show that intellectual capital disclosures in South Africa have increased over the 5 years study period with certain firms reporting considerably more than others. Out of the three broad categories of intellectual capital disclosures human capital appears to be the most popular category. This finding stands in sharp contrast to the previous studies in this area where external capital was found to be most popular category.