Two second-half tries saw South Africa accelerate away from England to win the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
The Springboks had held a six-point lead at half time after four penalties scored by Handre Pollard.
But tries from Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe saw South Africa triumph 32-12.
It means bitter disappointment for England, who had beaten Australia and New Zealand on the way to the final.
South Africa led 12-6 at halftime through a quartet of Pollard penalties, with Owen Farrell replying for an England team who had been bossed in the scrum, having lost injured prop Kyle Sinckler after three minutes, and who committed a series of handling errors in a ragged 40-minute display.
South Africa, playing with far more ambition than in their semi-final win over Wales, kept up the pressure in the second half as England struggled to build any sort of momentum and Pollard nudged them 18-12 ahead after an hour.
The Springboks then scored their first try in three World Cup finals when Mapimpi broke clear in the 66th minute, chipped ahead and collected the ball back from Lukhanyo Am, and recalled winger Kolbe then blasted through to put the gloss on a deserved win.