Riaan Cruywagen

Summary: Riaan Cruywagen

Riaan Cruywagen is a South African Afrikaans TV news presenter. In 1976 South Africa received the rights to broadcast television nationwide, placing Cruywagen, as the first news anchor in SA [1]. He has been in this position ever since, earning the title ‘the longest standing Afrikaans News anchor in the world’ [1]. He has since been called the ‘The Face of News’ and is considered to be an icon of South African culture and is very popular amongst the Afrikaans community [1]. Due to his tenure and ongoing professionalism, the public view him as a trustworthy and credible. There was outrage amongst the public when rumours surfaced that there was a possibility that SABC may not renew Cruywagen’s contract in 2003 [2].

Personal information:

Riaan Cruywagen was born October 5th, 1945 to Adrian Cruywagen and his wife Christie van Wyk [1]. His place of birth, Johannesburg South Africa, is still his current place of residence. He grew up in Gauteng and attended Hoërskool Lindin, matriculating in 1963 [1]. From there he moved down to the coast to attend Stellenbosch University, where he completed his Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in Languages, in 1968 [1]. Thereafter he moved back to Johannesburg to pursue a career in the media, receiving a place on the news team at the SABC. He married Riana den Besten in 1971 [1]. Together they have a daughter and now a young grandson [1]. His recreational activities include walking, reading, gardening and crosswords and what little TV he does watch consists of The Discovery Channel, The History Channel, Frasier and The Golden Girls [1].


Cruywagen was appointed the news anchor for SABC in 1975 [1], South Afica’s first live broadcast [6] [8]. During the testing stages, Cruywagen went on screen by default as he stood in for someone who did not show up and has never looked back [6]. He has been reporting news since the apartheid era and has kept an attitude of professionalism throughout the many changes he has seen both in South Africa and worldwide [6] [8]. He has witnessed the many changes from the days when news reports were typed using typewriters to the digital age of today [7]. In the audience’s mind news anchors become more authoritative and credible as they become older [6] [8]. In connection with the SABC, Cruywagen was previously instated as the TV News Producer, Chief Sub-Editor, Editor of the SABC TV news from 1974-1981[1]. He later became the representative for the SABC in the USA, Canada and at the United Nations from 1981-1983 where he became the Regional Director for KwaZulu-Natal from 1983-1985 which was immediately followed by the Head of News Presentation & Public Relations from which concluded in 1997 [1]. Thereafter, Cruywagen went into early retirement but is still employed on a contract basis to read the news 12 nights a month [6] [7].

Recognition and Awards:

  • In Johannesburg, 1990 Cruywagen received the Edgars Club award for the Best Male TV presenter [1].

  • In 1999 the Community of Randburg selected him for Excellence in Radio and Television News Presenting [1].

  • In 2002 he was recognised by Rapportryers for his contribution in Furtherance of Afrikaans Culture [1].

  • 2004 saw him once again being selected for Excellence in TV presenting by the Community of Randburg [1].

  • Most recently, in 2005 he won the award for Afrikaans Icon by ATKV (Afrikaans Taal [language] and Kultuurvereniging [Cutural Assosiation]) in Pretoria [1] [11].

  • Also, as Riaan himself states: “I hold a world record. I am the longest serving Afrikaans TV News Presenter in the world!” [1]

Other Professional Activites:

Cruywagen is best known for his anchoring position, although he was and still is involved in many other media activities, especially concerning the SABC [1]. Considering that Cruywagen has a degree in languages, it is natural that he has also become known for being a translator, voice-artist, language practitioner and public speaker. He does these activities independently as well as being a Freelance TV and radio broadcaster. He also worked with Radio Netherlands as an Afrikaans Radio Announcer for four years, starting in 1971 [1].
After the controversial conclusion of Cruywagen’s contract with the SABC, he was reinstated along with the labour union, United Association of South Africa (UASA), under the condition that he trains and begins preparing his successors who will eventually be phased into the SABC. Due to this, Cruywagen has been made the Manager of 'Member & Media Relations' in UASA which he began in 2006. He has also taken part in other ‘non-news’ projects, such as the voice of the children’s television series, “Haas Das in die Nuuskas” which was aired by SABC TV from 1976 to 1980 [3]. In 1991, Cruywagen practiced his acting skills by playing a news reporter in the South African production, Sweet and Short, as well as his most recent role in Stander, in 2003 [5].

External Links
Whos Who of SA
Why Democracy?
SA TV Profile

Primary Sources

Secondary Sources

1) News24. 2009. "Riaan Cruywagen." Accessed 13th October, 2009, from http://www.whoswhosa.co.za

2) News24. 2003. "SABC: Cruywagen to stay" Accessed 14th October, 2009 from

3) TVSA. 2009. "Riaan Cruywagen." Accessed 14th October, 2009 from http://www.tvsa.co.za/actorprofile.asp?actorID=4444

4) The Internet Movie Database. 2009. "Stander (2003)." Accessed 14th October, 2009 from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0326208

5) The Internet Movie Database. 2009. "Sweet n' Short (1991)." Accessed 14th October, 2009 from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0293625/

6) Karras, A. 2006. A Head for News. Sunday Times, January. Retrieved 10 October 2009 from

7) Engelbrecht, S. 2008. Dit is ses-uur en hier volg die nuus. The Media, June. Retrieved 13 October 2009 from

8) Barker, J. 2009. Riaan's Roots: Where is he from? Channel 24. June. Retrieved 14 October 2009 from

9) Why Democracy?
Retrieved on 14 October 2009 from

10) United Association of South Africa
Retrieved 14 October 2009 from

11) Afrikaans Taal en Kaltuur Vereniging
Retrieved 14 October 2009 from

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