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Publication of Riaan Eksteen’s Memoirs: Beyond Diplomacy

Beyond Diplomacy

Riaan Eksteen shares his life story. His involvement in South Africa’s diplomacy covers 27 years. He also deals with the four other careers he pursued.

Riaan Eksteen reflects on his remarkable journey and shows how to draw lessons from life, to convert challenges into opportunities, and to build friendship even with former political opponents.”
— Peter Katjavivi, Speaker of Namibian National Assembly
SWAKOPMUND, NAMIBIA, ERONGO, NAMIBIA, November 2, 2022 / -- Name: Riaan Eksteen Ph.D. (Emeritus Ambassador)
Phone number in Namibia: 00 264 81 413 5789
Email address:
Date submitted: 1 November 2022
Publication of Riaan Eksteen’s Memoirs: Beyond Diplomacy

His diplomatic career started in 1964 when Hendrik Verwoerd was Prime Minister. Subsequently he served under and received ambassadorial appointments from John Vorster, PW Botha, FW de Klerk and Nelson Mandela. For 20 of those years he dealt with the Namibian question at close range. In all that time, it was South Africa's main international concern and the focus of its foreign policy. He worked at the cutting edge of that policy.

Beyond Diplomacy covers more than five decades of extraordinary career and life transitions. Riaan describes the pivotal moments that made the difference. He catalogues his life-long experiences and how he ecountered them. He reflects on many of the events that he had been fortunate to have observed at close range or in which he had been involved. In some of these he occupied a particular vantage point. Readers will discover events that have not been aired or documented. Some are placed in a new context.

His five years as the CEO of the South African Broadcasting Corporation became an extraordinary experience.

At the end of the 1980s he was a political consultant on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

Thereafter he served as South Africa's first ambassador after Namibia's independence. The posting to the United Nations in Geneva was at the request of then still Mr Mandela in 1991. Then followed the posting to Turkey with additional diplomatic accreditation to Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

After his diplomatic career his experience in international affairs enabled him to offer authoritative guidance to several local and international companies to comprehend the political environment prevailing in Southern African states as well as the relevance, impact and opportunities for their business interests.

In 2016, a new field in the academic world opens up for him. He wrote his doctoral thesis and a book based on that thesis ( In May 2019, he became a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Johannesburg. He lectured in Europe and the USA at international conferences. Contributed chapters for two books. He produces 14 articles for international journals. On more than 20 occasions he addresses audiences in Europe and the US through Zoom. As a visiting professor, he lectured to law students at the University of Uzbekistan. He serves on the Council of the Europe-based Global Institute for Research, Education and Scholarship (GIRES). In June 2022 he was admitted as a member of the South African Academy of Science and Arts.

In the foreword Ton Vosloo, editor, publisher, and former chair of Naspers in South Africa, opines that this autobiography fully takes in a lifetime as a professional diplomat, business executive and academic. For him it is the legacy of Riaan Eksteen and what he views as the most informative tome on a hugely important time in South Africa’s modern history.

Full CV available:

Reviews already published:
In his review Professor Heinrich Matthee holds the opinion that anyone who reads Beyond Diplomacy attentively will come away with a fresh look at one of the most effective and professional diplomats to ever serve South Africa.

Beyond Diplomacy is already available as text. To order:
E-book is due shortly.
Key words: diplomacy, foreign affairs, memoirs

Riaan Eksteen
Riaan Eksteen
+264 81 413 5789
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