The doctorate has a long history in South Africa. The first doctorate was in law and was awarded at the University of the Cape of Good Hope in 1899 to William Alison Macfadyen. Since then, South African universities have awarded nearly 30.000 PhD degrees, about two-thirds of which in the past two decades. Despite this long history, doctoral education in South Africa has been an unknown phenomenon, mostly conducted behind closed doors, as a private affair between the doctoral student and a supervisor. Knowledge about the doctorate was anecdotal and informal. Furthermore, until the late 1980s, such education in South Africa was the privilege of élite, white, mostly male students.