Glasgow - Siyabulela Mabulu won bronze in judo on Thursday evening, beating India's Manjeet Nandal in the 66kg division, to earn South Africa its second medal of the games.
Nandal received shido in 17 seconds, before both competitors were warned in the 38th second.
The bout continued with Nandal getting his third warning and Mabulu managing to hold on for victory, despite a shido with just over a minute remaining.
The 26-year-old's medal was not expected and teammate Daniel le Grange almost added a third Bronze medal in his 60kg bout where he lost out to Scotland's John Buchannon.
"It (the judo medal) was a bit of surprise," said SA Sports Commission and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) president Gideon Sam, who was pleased with the two medals on the first day.
"I think we are getting our programmes right now. Federations are realising we need to be on the circuit even if it's in Africa. You get good competition in the north, especially for Judo, weightlifting and Boxing."
Meanwhile, Roland Schoeman and Chad le Clos look set for a medal haul in Friday night's 50m butterfly final.
Schoeman won the first heat in 23.25 seconds, stepping up the intensity from the morning's heat.
"Its about systematically getting faster. You cant win the final in the semifinals," said Schoeman.
"I don't really care about what lane... I swim my own race, it's doing what you have to do. I don't really care about anyone else's performances. I know what I want to achieve and that's what I base winning on."
Le Clos, a crowd favourite, was clearly enjoying his first outing at the Games, where he qualified in the second heat, behind England's Benjamin Proud, who clocked 23.16 seconds for the fastest time of the night.
"I'm really excited. I've done and incredible time. If I can go faster ton Friday who knows," Le Clos said.
He has the opportunity to be the first athlete to do the triple gold at 50m,100m and 200m.
"That's what's so exciting. This is not my distance, Roland and the others have more to lose than me, so this is the bonus. Even if Roland wins that's great, as long as we get a gold from one of us." Marne Erasmus and Daren Murray failed to progress to the finals of the 100m butterfly and backstroke respectively.
Elsewhere, Cecil Africa and his sevens squad took some time out to support the team at the pool.
"We just wanted to get a change to focus from the rugby, but the guys are itching to get out and play on Saturday," Africa, who is at his second Commonwealth Games, said.
South Africa's women's hockey team trounced Trinidad and Tobago 16-0 in their opening pool A game.
Already leading 7-0 at the break, Dirkie Chamberlain netted a hat-trick from seven shots and added a penalty corner.