Once the bunting has been taken down and the delegates have departed to their regions on Monday next week, South African opposition politics will, for better or worse, never be the same again.
The choice facing members of the Democratic Alliance in regard to a new national leader is such that it will lead, whatever the outcome, to an era where the old way of doing things is no more.
One one hand they have an academic, on his own claims “steeped in the liberal tradition...” full of knowledge about definitions, political strategy and – from his experience as an ANC supporter in the latter part of the 20th century – applying political pressure via campaigns of both an official (and sometimes unofficial) nature as was the practice all those years ago.
To his credit, however, Dr Wilmot James has not – on the face of it – attempted such unofficial campaign tactics publicly. What sort of discussions and bargaining has been taking place behind closed-doors, of course, will never be known. Such is the way of real-politik.
In the other corner we see a younger South African. A man raised as part of a generation that were still in primary school while the apartheid monster was faced, addressed and eventually put out to pasture as the 1980s passed into the 1990s.
Social media, the internet and instant communication have come of age during his adult years. He is a product of a society where interaction, accessibility and action are favoured.