Striker Siyanda Ngubo scored to cancel out Eteme Adamou Achilles's 46th minute opener at the Stade Omnisports Ahmadou Ahidjo.
Amajita, who will host the return leg in Polokwane on 31 August, ended the match with ten men as goalkeeper Dumisani Msibi was sent off.
Coach Shakes Mashaba felt his charges could have come away with the three points but was nevertheless pleased with their spirited display.
"We should have sealed the match in the first half with the two chances we got," Mashaba is quoted as saying on Safa's official Twitter feed.
"If we don't take our chances you get yourself into trouble but we managed after conceding.
"It was a good fight back from the boys. The red card disturbed us, we had to change tactics late."
The overall victor of the tie will gain entry to the 19th edition of the ACY, taking place in Senegal from 8-22 March. The top three finishers at the competition will represent Africa at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.
SA U-20 line-up vs Cameroon U-20: Dumisani Msibi (GK), Aubrey Modiba, Madisha Motjeka, Ayabulela Magqwaka (C), Denwin Farmer, Tlotlo Leepile, Morne Nel, Fagrie Lakay, Pule Maraisane, Tshepo Chaine, Siyanda Ngubo.
Subs: Jethren Barr (GK), Bongani Mathebula, Khumbulani Mkhize, Sikhumbuzo Mazibuko, Ryan Christian, Sphelele Luthuli, Dikgang Ngcobo.