Tatjana Schoenmaker and Bianca Buitendag both won silver on day four of the Olympics to claim South Africa's first medals of Tokyo 2020.
However there was disappointment for South Africa men's rugby sevens team as they failed to reach the semi-finals and a possible medal.
Moroccan boxer Youness Baalla was at the centre of controversy in the boxing ring as he attempted to bite his opponent from New Zealand.
In the women's football Zambia's Copper Queens lost 1-0 to Brazil in their final group to crash out of the tournament.
South Africa's Tatjana Schoenmaker had to settle for silver in the women's 100m breaststroke as she finished behind surprise winner the USA's Lydia Jacoby.
Schoenmaker qualified fastest for the final having set the Olympic record in the heats but was edged out by 17-year-old Jacoby for the gold with USA's world record holder Lilly King winning bronze.
"It is amazing. I really hope this brings a little bit of hope for South Africa and we are obviously going through a tough time at the moment," she said.
"If that shows us there's hope in South Africa then it is because obviously, we know sport unites countries we have seen it with the rugby world cup so hopefully the Olympics does the same."
She has another chance in the pool when she races in Wednesday's heats of her preferred event the 200m breaststroke, in which she is the reigning world silver medallist.
"I am a bit nervous for that but I am excited we have a whole days rest. I can't wait to sleep a little and refocus for the 200," she added.
"See how it goes in the heats and then build up to that I am ready and I feel I am in a good place and in good form."
Her compatriot Chad le Clos reached Wednesday's final of the men's 200m butterfly third fastest after he won his semi-final.
The 29-year-old is aiming for his fifth Olympic medal and second gold, after he won the 200m butterfly title at London 2012.
There was real disappointment for Tunisia's 400m freestyle Olympic champion Ahmed Hafnaoui as he failed to reach the final of his preferred event the 800m freestyle.
With only the eight fastest swimmers going straight from the heats into Thursday's final the 18-year-old could only manage the 10th equal time.
Bianca Buitendag of South Africa claimed silver in the women's surfing as the sport made its debut at the Olympics and then immediately announced her retirement from competing.
On Tuesday the 27-year-old beat Portugal's Yolanda Hopkins and USA's Caroline Marks to reach the final, which had been rescheduled from Wednesday due to a bad weather forecast.
Buitendag eventually lost the gold-medal match to four-time world champion Carissa Moore of the USA.
"I surprised myself. It was a wonderful experience. I think it was one of the most wonderful weeks of my life. I will never forget it. I'm so proud to be South African," she said after winning her medal.
South Africa's men were stunned by Argentina in the quarter-finals of the rugby sevens 19-14, despite the South Americans ending the game with just five players.
The South Africans, who won bronze at the Rio games in 2016, scored first through Selvyn Davids and soon after Argentina's Gaston Revol was sent off for a body check.
Despite being a man down Argentina fought back to lead 14-7 at half time, a lead they extended after the break. South Africa got back into the match with a penalty try with 20 seconds remaining as the Argentines saw Lautaro Bazan Velez sent to the sin bin.
Argentina recovered the restart and ended the match by putting the ball in to touch to claim their place in the last four where they will play Fiji.
South Africa will now have to play Australia on Wednesday in the matches to decide places from 5th to 8th.
Earlier in the day South Africa had beaten USA 17-12 to finish top of Pool C.
Kenya lost all three of their Pool C matches as they were beaten 12-7 by Ireland on Tuesday. The Kenyans then beat hosts Japan 21-7 in the play-offs for 9th to 12th places.
That win sees them face Ireland again on Wednesday to determine who finishes ninth and tenth.
As the taekwondo ended in Tokyo Ivory Coast's Aminata Traore missed out on a bronze in the women's +67kg category as she lost to France's Althea Laurin.
The bronze-medal fight was stopped by the referee with just seconds left with Laurin leading 17-8.
In the same category Kenya's Faith Ogallo lost 15-7 to Aleksandra Kowalczuk of Poland in her bout to reach a bronze medal fight.
It was a similar story for Ivorian Seydou Gbane in the men's +80kg event as he missed out on a chance for a bronze with a 8-2 loss to Cuba's Rafael Alba in his repechage fight.
Zambia were knocked out of the women's football after losing 1-0 to Brazil in their final group game as they played the majority of the match with 10 players.
Lushomo Mweemba was sent off in the 13th minute after a VAR check for a challenge on Brazil's Ludmila.
The Copper Queens' keeper Hazel Nali was then forced off with an injury to be replaced by Musole N'gambo two minutes later Brazil took the lead as Andressa scored from a free kick on the edge of the area.
In the other group match, the Netherlands thrashed China 8-2, to take their tally of goals to 21 from their three games.
The result means means Zambia finished third in Group F behind Netherlands and Brazil and ahead of China on goal difference.
There were shocking scenes in the men's Olympic heavyweight preliminary rounds on Tuesday as Morocco's Youness Baalla attempted to bite his New Zealand opponent David Nyika.
The 22-year-old Baalla's actions were missed by the officials during the fight but he was disqualified after the bout for unsportsmanlike behaviour.
Nyika later was in a forgiving mood after the incident as he posted on social media urging people not to aim any abuse at Baala.
"The heat of battle can bring the best AND worst out of people. This is part of sport," he posted.
"I have nothing but respect for my opponent and can appreciate the frustration he must have felt. *Please don't reach to him if you have nothing nice to say*."
Nigeria women's basketball team lost 72-81 to USA in their opening Group B game, with the MVP from the 2019 Afrobasket, Ezinne Kalu top scoring for the African champions with 16 points.
"We got our jitters out of the way as this is the first game and everyone came out a bit nervous, but I think we buckled down and played our game and played Nigeria basketball." Kalu said.
"I am really glad at how we competed today - with a team like USA you have to play perfectly to beat them and I think we came out and fought as hard as we could."
In the other game in the pool France lost 70-74 to Japan.
Next up for Nigeria will be France on Friday before they finish their group campaign against hosts Japan on Monday.
Africa's representatives in the women's event, Angola, lost 30-21 to Norway on Tuesday after losing 33-22 to Montenegro in their opening Group A match.
Angola have three matches left against Netherlands, hosts Japan and South Korea to try and get into the top four in the six-team group and progress to the quarter-finals.
South Africa's men suffered a third defeat in Pool B losing 9-4 to Belgium and now have two win their last two matches against Germany and Canada to have any chance at all of progressing to the last eight.
Kenya's women lost their second Pool A game 3-0 (25-14, 25-22, 26-24) to South Korea opening game on Sunday 3-0 ( to hosts Japan
After losing their opening match 3-0 to hosts Japan on Sunday, the east Africans now have three matches left against Serbia, Dominican Republic and Brazil to try and get into the top four in the six-team group and progress to the quarter-finals.
Moroccan duo Mohammed Abicha and Zouheir Elgraoui lost 2-0 to a Brazilian team that includes Bruno Schmidt, who won gold on homesand in Rio in 2016.
The Moroccans have one more match against Chile on Friday to see who will finish third in their pool and continue at the Games.
South Africa men's team were thrashed for the second time at the Tokyo Games, this time by USA losing 20-3 after an opening 21-2 loss to Italy.
The South Africans have three matches left against Hungary, Greece and hosts Japan to try and get into the top four in the six-team group and progress to the quarter-finals.