Educated at Central High School, Bloemfontein.
Obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree at Stellenbosch University and his Master of Arts degree at the University of South Africa. Awarded his Doctorate of Philosophy by the University of Pretoria.
His academic reputation was established quickly as a senior lecturer in Anthropology at the University of South Africa in 1949. He was appointed Professor of the University of South Africa in 1954 and became a member of the University Council four years later. Appointed chief government ethnologist in 1969, he became Commissioner- General a year later.
Outstanding scholar renowned for his studies on anthropology and ethnology. Enlisted as a distinguished professor into government service for his authority on racial issues and his wide-ranging experience of academic administration. Away from university life he takes a great interest in cattle breeding.