South Africa midfielder Hlompho Kekana scored a remarkable goal from inside his own half before Cameroon battled back to earn a 2-2 draw in Limbe and further damage their visitors' Africa Cup of Nations qualifying hopes.
Shakes Mashaba's side headed to Limbe without a win in their opening two Group M matches and an opener from Tokelo Rantie was cancelled out by Cameroon forward Sebastien Siani on the stroke of half-time.
However, Mamelodi Sundowns' Kekana took centre stage with a sensational 49th-minute strike that is set to define his career.
Nicolas Nkoulou nodded home to earn a point for new boss Hugo Broos in his first match, meaning Cameroon are a point ahead of Mauritania and five better off than South Africa.
South Africa goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune was grateful to see the loose ball scrambled clear when he dropped an early shot from Christian Bekamenga, and his side led in the 15th minute.
AFC Bournemouth striker Rantie darted in behind a sluggish Cameroon backline and coolly rounded Guy N'dy Assembe to score.
Khune made a stunning reaction save when Edgar Salli crashed a volley towards the top corner from a 38th-minute corner, while Rantie's previous composure deserted him when he scuffed a shot against Assembe's boot following a one-two with Mandla Masango.
Siani crashed home a fine effort from outside the area to haul Cameroon level but Kekana would relegate this to a footnote.
Collecting possession towards the right flank, around 60 yards from goal, the 30 year-old audaciously took aim with Bekamenga off his line and the ball sailed unerringly into the centre of the goal.
Cameroon, perhaps understandably, struggled to regain their poise but equalised for a second time when Marseille defender Nkoulou converted a 66th-minute set-piece.
South Africa defender Thulani Hlatshwayo hacked off his own goal line in stoppage time before Thulani Serero had strong penalty claims rejected at the other end in a frantic finish to a match.
Top-ranked African side Cape Verde suffered a setback as they lost 1-0 at home to Morocco, who go three points clear at the top of Group F following Herve Renard's first game in charge.
Democratic Republic of Congo leapt from third to first in Group B thanks to a 2-1 home win against Angola, while Senegal maintained their 100 per cent record by beating Niger 2-0.
That win sends them six points clear of their three Group K rivals, with Namibia having claimed a 3-1 victory at Burundi.
Jonathan Pitroipa netted the only goal from the penalty spot as Burkina Faso replaced 10-man Uganda at the top of Group D and Seychelles got the better of Lesotho 2-0.
In the day's remaining fixture, Mauritius beat Rwanda 1-0.