The 26-year-old got his tenure as skipper off to an almost-perfect start as he led the hosts to a 3-1 series win, securing England's first victory over the Proteas on home soil since 1998.
A 211-run win at Lord's in July - including 190 off 234 from Root - was followed up by an emphatic, 340-run victory for the visitors in Nottingham, but subsequent triumphs at The Oval and in Manchester ensured that Root became only the third captain of the modern era to begin with a series win.
"At the beginning, I'd have snapped your hand off for a 3-1 win, but it was a difficult week at Nottingham," Root told The Sunday Times. "It was something we needed in that if we're going to get better there were things that we knew we needed to address. We met up ahead of the match at The Oval and were very honest about what we wanted to do, but the pleasing thing was that we went out and did it there and at Old Trafford.
"A big part of that win [at The Oval] was the tone set by Alastair Cook in the first innings. I remember him walking off at lunch peppered down one side of his thigh in bruises from Morne Morkel. We had to understand that on occasions we might have to be more circumspect and attritional. We showed to ourselves that we can play a different way if the situation dictates. It was a big move forward."
Next up for England is a three-match Test series with the West Indies, starting at Edgbaston on Thursday.