Riaan Eksteen



For more than 54 years I have been at the cutting edge of diplomacy, electronic media, public relations, consultancy for international clients, accomplished author of articles in international renown publications and an accomplished speaker at international meetings and national seminars.

Pursued five different careers with outmost success

Riaan Eksteen . . .

has pursued five different careers with outmost success

  • 27 years in South Africa’s diplomatic service of which 15 were as Ambassador (UN NY, UN Geneva, Namibia, Turkey) and also Head of Planning in the Foreign Ministry, as well as a five year tour of diplomatic duty in Washington DC (1968-1973);
  • 5 years as CEO of South Africa’s Broadcasting Corporation (SABC);
  • two years as Political Analysist on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and Consultant for Baird Communications – one of the largest full-service public relations and public affairs consultancies in Southern Africa;
  • Past 20 years as International Consultant and Business Facilitator in Southern Africa;
  • Following the successful completion of his doctorate in Politics (October 2018) and launch of his book published by Springer in July 2019, I am now engaged as a Senior Research Associate at the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Johannesburg.

For more than 54 years I have been at the cutting edge of diplomacy, electronic media, public relations, consultancy for international clients, accomplished author of articles in international renown publications; and accomplished speaker at international meetings and national seminars.

My diplomatic career had these distinguished characteristics: It demonstrated my organisational, diplomatic and negotiating skills. These skills were successfully transferred and employed also in the other careers I pursued and the two I am still practicing today as an international consultant and business facilitator, and as author and speaker on international affairs.

My exceptional academic record has stood me in good stead. I obtained the following Degrees:


  • B.A. from University of Pretoria (U.P.) in 1963 majoring in Roman-Dutch Law, Political Science and German;
  • B.A. Honours in Political Science from the University of South Africa (UNISA) in 1971;
  • M.A. (Cum Laude) from UNISA in 1974 with the thesis entitled: “The Role of the USA Senate in Foreign Affairs”; and
  • D Litt. et Phil. from the University of Johannesburg (U.J.) in October 2018 with the thesis entitled “The Role of the High Courts of the United States of America, South Africa and the European Union in Foreign Affairs”. One of the study leaders was the South African Research Chair in International Law. Three external examiners were Professors from North Texas University, Political Science, Dallas; Emroy University. Law Faculty, Atlanta; and the London School of Economics and Political Science. The thesis was approved without amendments. Two of the external examiners recommended that the degree be awarded with distinction.


Association with Namibia is comprehensive. It runs in my family and goes back nearly 95 years. In 1925 my father went to Namibia (then South West Africa). In Otjiwarongo he became a shop assistant. In 1928 my parents got married in that town. Two years later my elder brother was born in Windhoek. From 1931 to 1934 they were managing the shop and hotel they owned in Warmbad. Today family from my mother’s side is still farming extensively in Namibia – the fourth generation to do so.

Shortly after joining the South African Foreign Service in January 1964 I was included in the South African legal team involved in the International Court of Justice case of Ethiopia and Liberia v. South Africa in The Hague. That brought me to Windhoek for the first time in 1965. In 1967 I travelled throughout the country for three weeks compiling material for the publication of the SWA Survey 1967. The same happened in the case of the SWA Survey 1974.

In 1975 I organised a visit for 22 of the leaders of the Turnhalle to West-Germany, the UK and the USA. I accompanied the group and acted as tour leader.   At that time I was head of the division UN/Namibia in the Foreign Ministry (1973-1976).

While Ambassador to the UN in New York (1977-1981) I was intimately involved in the negotiating phases leading up to the adoption of Resolution 435. During that time I travelled twice with the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Namibia, Marrti Athisaari, on his survey missions.

As Head of Planning in the Foreign Ministry (1981-1983) I continued to devote full time attention to the implementation of that resolution.

From February 1990 to Jan 1992 I served as South Africa’s first Ambassador to Namibia.

Since 1992 my wife and I kept a presence in Swakopmund with the apartment we owned and later from 2008 maintained a residence on a permanent basis in the same town.

From February 2000 I have enjoyed Permanent Residence status in Namibia. My wife Ria’s own link with this country spans more than 60 years. For many of these years she was intimate involved in its wildlife and conservation activities. She is a Namibian citizen.

Over these years we have become fully integrated into the Namibian society and that of Swakopmund in particular.

In Namibia I am particularly proud to count amongst those persons with whom I have maintained a close professional and personal relationship for more than 30 years many of those who have led Namibia to independence and beyond.

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My book, The Role of the Highest Courts in America . . .

Now available click here.