Adv Johan Kruger is an alumnus of the former Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education.

NWU in his blood


Adv Johan Kruger has been closely involved with the NWU for some years. Between 2007 and 2016 he was a member of the executive committee of the Convocation, and a member of the Institutional Forum and the NWU Council.


Johan's father, Frans Kruger, was head of the NWU's Legal Office for years and remains involved even after his retirement. Johan's uncle, Adv Johan Kruger, SC, is the current chairperson of the NWU Council.


From Potch to Nairobi and then,

who knows?

Adv Johan Kruger has come a long way: 3 000 km, to be exact. That’s the distance from Potchefstroom, where he grew up and studied, to Nairobi, where he is currently working for the United Nations (UN).

The journey has been an eventful one. Johan's diverse talents, interests and career experiences have seen to that. After all, it isn't often that a legal eagle is also equally at home in the theatre and in the saddle of a bicycle.


While still a learner at Potchefstroom Gimnasium, Johan obtained provincial colours for track and road cycling, and was selected for the national junior road-cycling team.


As a student at the former Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education (PU for CHE), Johan obtained an LLB degree in 2001 and an LLM in public law in 2002. He also met the love of his life, professional photographer and performer Nacia, at the university.


“This was when we were both members of the Alabama Student Company – music and our shared love of theatre brought us together.”


The first steps


Johan, who was admitted as an advocate of the High Court of South Africa in 2001, began his career as a state prosecutor in 2002. He then became a legal advisor in the department of defence and later cabinet liaison officer to the minister of defence.

After a year as head of productions at Creativentertainment in Pretoria, he began working for the UN in 2008.

He was the project coordinator and legal advisor for Southern Africa in the UN's Office on Drugs and Crime until 2012, when he became director of the Centre for Constitutional Rights at the FW de Klerk Foundation in Cape Town.


Johan's background in law and theatre made him a perfect fit for his positions as non-executive director on the boards of the Afrikaanse Taal- en Kultuurvereniging (an Afrikaans cultural organisation) and various other private companies, as well as trustee of the Arts and Culture Trust of South Africa and member of the audit and risk committee of the Artscape Theatre Centre.


UN his current home


In 2016 he joined the UN for the second time as programme head at their Office on Drugs and Crime in Nairobi, Kenya.


“At present I am heading two programmes that focus on combatting human trafficking, smuggling of immigrants, drug trade, illegal weapons trading, cybercrime, money laundering, terrorism and extremism in East Africa,” Johan explains.

The UN's regional office in East Africa – where Johan works – forms part of an enormous UN complex that houses 28 UN agencies and about 4 500 staff members.


The road ahead


The Krugers have been in Nairobi for almost eight months. “We miss our family and friends, but fortunately technology helps us to stay in touch.”


Johan says that he will likely stay in Nairobi for about two to three years before he will move to another UN position. “My job requires a lot of travel – in East Africa, but also to other places in Africa and Europe. So the time I actually spend in Nairobi may be much less.”


Well, wherever Johan's life journey takes him, it is sure to take him past new and interesting beacons and milestones. There’s no doubt we’ll be hearing more about the twists and turns of the road ahead.


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  • More about Nacia

    Nacia obtained her BA degree in tourism and recreation from the former PU for CHE and then did three years of musical theatre at the former Pretoria Technikon. She performed in various musicals in the big theatres in South Africa, as well as in Malmo, Sweden, and the Téâtre du Châtelet in Paris, France, for almost 10 years.


    She has had roles in The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, Grease, Showboat and various pantomimes. Nacia was a member of the group, The Dahlings and directed a number of musical theatre productions, including those of the NWU.


    Nacia's other love is photography. Although she has built a successful photography business, she is quite happy to be at home for a change with their four-month old baby boy, Nathan. Not that she is staying quietly at home – she and Nathan regularly travel with Johan and she is already teaching a couple of babies in Nairobi about music.


  • More about Nairobi

    Johan says that Nairobi reminds him of Pretoria. “The city centre has huge buildings and way too much traffic, with beautiful surrounding areas including Gigiri, the diplomatic area where the UN is situated.”


    Although Nairobi is on the equator, it is located about 1 800 metres above sea level. “The temperature is quite moderate – never too hot or too cold and almost always green. It is also a central point in East Africa and allows convenient access to places like Kilimanjaro, the Masai Mara, Mombasa and Zanzibar.”

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Winners of the NWU's Alumni Awards are from left Karen Meiring (Business Leadership Award), Dr Tanya Robinson (Research Award), Yvonne Mfolo (Community Involvement Award), Dr Theuns Eloff (Lifetime Achievement Award), Judge Frans Kgomo (Public Service Award) and Kobie van Rensburg (Arts and Culture Award). Due to urgent commitments elsewhere, the other two winners, Shanté Bukes (Sport Award) and Prof Llewellyn van Zyl (Young Alumnus Award) were not able to attend the event. Their representatives received the awards on their behalf.