It took 127 years, from March 1889, until last Tuesday afternoon in Cape Town, for the first member of South Africa's black majority to score a Test century.
What a century it was too by Temba Bavuma, and what a reception. English supporters cheered because they like an underdog. For children bussed in from townships such as Langa, where Bavuma comes from, it was a unique moment of triumph and sense of liberation.
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Solely in cricket terms, Bavuma fast-forwarded the second Test with his hundred off 140 balls - batting with much the same flair as the equally diminutive West Indian Gus Logie - and put the pressure back on England, under which they came close to cracking on the final day.
More than that, Bavuma's achievement says much about South African society past and present.
Above all, it is a story of the wasting of lives that results from man's inhumanity; and it could have been so different if South Africa had not taken 125 years to select a batsman from their black majority in the first place.
"Selection on merit" is cricket's mantra. But who demonstrates more merit if they score the same amount of runs: the boy equipped with everything from birth who went to one of the many South African schools with excellent cricket facilities? Or Bavuma?
He was born in 1990 in a single-storey brick house with a communal tap and outside toilet. Even in 1994, at the end of apartheid, the South African Townships Annual was reporting that Langa was "desperately overcrowded because of its proximity to Cape Town", with occupancy as high as 20 people per house.
But basic amenities have now been installed and streets are tidy - without that razor-wire which fortifies affluent South Africa, or signs that an Armed Response Unit will shoot if you knock on a door.
Langa Township is populated by Xhosas from the Eastern Cape. And the tragic waste in South African cricket is that Xhosas have been playing the sport keenly ever since British missionaries in the mid-19th century set up schools which preached cricket and rugby, discipline and toughness.
But the selectors of South Africa's first national team picked whites only for the first Test against England in Port Elizabeth: 10 of British stock, one Afrikaner. It was not as if any of them was good at batting. In the two-Test series of 1889, no South African reached 30.
Xhosas moved to Cape Town to find work in the docks, and lived in District Six, outside the city walls but near the harbour. District Six was to achieve worldwide fame in the late 1960s when its inhabitants were expelled and their houses demolished by P.W Botha, the minister of community development - even Orwell never came up with a better euphemism.
Most were Malays, Jews from eastern Europe, and West Indians who had obeyed Marcus Garvey's injunction to return to Africa; Xhosas had already been expelled.
Bubonic plague had struck Cape Town during the Anglo-Boer War. Rats infested the hay which was imported to feed the British army's horses - and as Xhosas were the dockers who brought the hay ashore, and succumbed to the disease first, they were blamed.
In 1927, Langa Township was opened for the Xhosas. And enclosed. Surrounded by railway track, road and river, or drainage ditch, it could be cordoned off in times of unrest.
And the township rioted, rightly: when pass laws were introduced in 1960, when the apartheid government tried to impose Afrikaans as the medium of education in the 1970s, right up to the ANC government's police shooting miners at Marikana.
But all was peaceful last Thursday evening, except for the wind that occupies Cape Flats, when Langa CC met for their first net session since Tuesday's great event.
Bavuma's first coach, Ezra Cagwe, had already pointed out the crossroads where Temba first played, from three years old, using a piece of wood and taped tennis ball.
"At seven, he was playing mini-cricket," said Cagwe, who had the joy of watching Bavuma's hundred at Newlands. "At eight, he was playing under-10 cricket, then he made Western Province Under-13s. He was always a batsman."
Bavuma's father was busy as a journalist in Cape Town, but his uncles had played the game: they are Xhosas.
When everyone takes the day-long bus to their ancestral villages in the Eastern Cape for the Christmas holidays, they play cricket matches for the prize of a roasted sheep.
One name is even more revered than Bavuma's at Langa: that of the late John Passmore, the philanthropist who funded their clubhouse. Was he South African? Club officials chorus: "No, he was British. No, he was a Langa citizen!"
This club produced the first non-white to keep wicket for South Africa: Thami Tsolekile, who also represented the country at hockey.
Alongside the rather scruffy ground and nets - the club have a mechanised roller but no covers, and the ground is mown once a week by the council - a new hockey pitch gleams bluer than the Cape skies.
Langa's hockey team are in division one, their cricket team in division three. Hockey is so much cheaper, only a stick, and takes so much less time.
Batsmen at Langa share the club bats as they cannot afford a thousand rand. If the kit is rudimentary, enthusiasm in the nets is keen, among boys and girls, while it lasts.
A spectator is John McInroy, who used to play cricket for Langa - "I was the token white," he says, and everyone falls around laughing - but is now their only white hockey player. "They are so truthful here," McInroy said, "and they stick up for each other."
The five other members of the indigenous black population to play cricket for South Africa have been fast bowlers, who do not need expensive training: Makhaya Ntini, Monde Zondeki, Mfuneko Ngam and Lonwabo Tsotsobe, all Xhosas from the Eastern Cape, and now Kagiso Rabada, son of a neuro-surgeon in Johannesburg. As a batsman, Bavuma would surely not have made it if he had stayed in Langa.
All the batsmen in England's squad except one, even the wicketkeepers, went to private schools: Nick Compton and Gary Ballance to Harrow, Joe Root and Samit Patel to Worksop College, and so on. Alex Hales is trying to become England's first established Test batsman from a state school since Paul Collingwood.
It was no different for Bavuma: when his father moved to Johannesburg to join The Star, his son won a cricket scholarship at 17 to the private Catholic school, St David's Marist.
This week, St David's have been playing in a schools tournament in Cape Town. On Thursday, they were playing a composite township team. The township kids wore the T-shirts they had been given.
The St David's boys wore striped blazers and caps. Expert coaching, excellent pitches, contacts with Cricket South Africa, and self-esteem: they are all part of the package.
Since apartheid, the Cape Coloured community has produced some top cricketers: Herschelle Gibbs and Ashwell Prince averaged more than 40 in Tests, Vernon Philander and Paul Adams have taken more than 100 wickets.
The prize for winning this series is the Basil D'Oliveira Trophy, in memory of the great cricketer who could have scored many centuries for South Africa if he had been allowed, and against many countries, too, as South Africa would not have been banned.
When Hashim Amla announced his resignation from the Test captaincy straight after the match at Newlands, he was accompanied not only by the Cape Coloured coach Russell Domingo, but by two officials from the Indian community like himself. One, the CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat, announced the captaincy would pass to AB de Villiers.
But even though the wind had picked up and swirled around Table Mountain, the cheers for Bavumba had not entirely died away - and never will.