Stellenbosch University nightwatchman

Andries Daniels. Image: Stellenbosch University

Stellenbosch University nightwatchman becomes first black Ph.D. holder in viticulture

As they say, everything is within the realms of possibility. A Stellenbosch University 40-year-old nightwatchman has become SA’s first black Ph.D. holder in viticulture.

Stellenbosch University nightwatchman

Andries Daniels. Image: Stellenbosch University

A nightwatchman at the Stellenbosch University wrote his name academic folklore by becoming SA’s first black Ph.D. holder in viticulture.


The leading higher education brand confirmed that Andries Daniels has become South Africa’s first Ph.D. holder in viticulture at Stellenbosch University (SU).

The 40-year-old earned his qualification while moonlighting as a nightwatchman at the campus.

“​When Andries Daniels received his doctorate in the Faculty of AgriSciences at Stellenbosch University (SU) in mid-December, he became the first black South African man to obtain a PhD in viticulture,” SU announced.

“He has since also successfully studied part-time to complete three degrees (including his PhD) at SU – while evaluating new table grape and raisin grape cultivars and selections, or advising second-economy grape farmers of especially the Northern Cape.”

Daniels’ duties as a nightwatchman ended when he picked up his first a BScAgric in Viticulture and Oenology in 2005. He was appointed at the town’s Agricultural Research Council (ARC) Infruitec-Nietvoorbij in Stellenbosch as a research technician at the breeding and evaluation division in 2006.

“Dr Daniels, originally from Kimberley, nowadays lives in the Strand, and does research on table, raisin and wine grapes in the ARC’s crop development section.”


So what motivated Daniels while juggling a job and the high academic demands of being a doctoral student?

The Kimberley native said he had one personal driving force: to make something of his life.

“I mean, Jan van Riebeeck arrived in the Cape in 1652. So it basically took 350 years for a native African or South African to become the first person who can say, ‘I am actually a doctor in this’,” said Daniels.

“Because I knew I wanted to make something of my life when the opportunity arose for me to get a job, even if it was as a nightwatchman, I took it with both hands,” he said.