Educated at Naauwport and then at Strydenburg, 110 miles south of Kimberley. He went on to take a Bachelor of Economics degree at the University of South Africa.
A civil servant from 1931 to 1941, he joined the Nationalist party machine as an organiser in 1941. In 1948 he became an assistant party secretary and stayed in the job until 1953. He gained valuable public relations experience as an assistant information officer from 1960 to 1965.
Entering politics in 1949 as a Provincial Councillor in Transvaal, he was elected to Parliament in 1953 and served there for 15 years. He was party whip for the Transvaal MPs and acted as chairman of various working groups on Labour, Defence and Information. He was appointed to the committee on siting Bantu townships in Pretoria.
In 1968 he left Parliament to become Ambassador to Canada. He was appointed Ambassador to Portugal in 1970 but he was recalled a year later to take over from W. C. du Plessis as Administrator of South-West Africa.
Loyal Nationalist Party worker, rewarded first with two agreeable diplomatic postings abroad then assigned to the tightrope test of trying to keep the South African government out of trouble over the running of South-West Africa. Although well trained in public relations and the interplay of political pressures as a party whip, he has seemed overwhelmed at times by the political tensions thrusting South-West Africa into headlines round the world. He has worked hard to weather the storm but the strain has left its mark.