It is a milestone of sorts. For the first time in its democratic history South Africa has an official opposition led by a black person.
In that context, it is hard not to see the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) election of Mmusi Maimane as its new leader as a significant step in the country’s journey towards political maturity.
The DA has been growing steadily in successive elections, already taking control of one of South Africa’s nine provincial governments.
But Mr Maimane’s predecessor, Helen Zille, made no secret of her belief that the party would never threaten the ANC’s enduring grip on power if it could not finally shake off the accusation that it is a “white” party, representing the interests of those who benefited from decades of apartheid.