Ruben's current identity labels do not tell the whole story. Ruben has been profiled as an Inspirational South African Leader. For the full online feature click here More recently Ruben has conducted peace building seminars for leaders of criminal gangs, resulting in the longest ceasefire in the history of gang warfare on the Cape Flats. (For the BBC World New coverage of this intervention click here -   

Ruben is 55 years old and a proud South African who resides in Cape Town. His professional and academic career has been local and international, multi-disciplinary and multi-faceted serving in executive and leadership positions in Government, Private Sector Business, Higher Education institutions, and the Faith Community.

It all started after Ruben completed high school and commenced his working career as a clothing factory worker and thereafter an apprentice fitter and turner in the marine and general engineering sector. Since qualifying as a tradesman, Ruben has evolved into various roles including becoming an ordained Cleric, Deputy Director-General (DDG) of the now disbanded Scorpions (i.e. South Africa's FBI), CEO of a large engineering company, Company Director, Peace Negotiator, Business Consultant and visiting adjunct Professor at Wits University's Graduate School of Public and Development Management.

These achievements are remarkable noting that Ruben is a first generation Apartheid baby, classified by Apartheid as Coloured, and for whom there was very little chance of succeeding beyond being cheap labour for the Apartheid economy. Miraculously, Ruben has triumphed and serves as an inspiration to those who don't believe that success is possible - even when the odds are stacked against you.


Current Activities

(1) Chairman and Founder of the Ruben Richards Foundation (NPO 114-249 / PBO 930/042/988) - A South African nonprofit public benefit organisation with a vision to bring healing to traumatised communities. see     or

(2) Peace builder with criminal gangs in South Africa. See BBC World News clip (click here to view) and also German Media coverage (click here to view)

(3) Non-Executive Chairman - VISUAL INTERNATIONAL LIMITED (a JSE-AltX listed property development company)


Previous Activities

  • Advisor - Scarce skills in the Engineering sector
  • Business Strategy Consultant
  • Democratic Governance Consultant - United Nations Development Programme
  • Facilitator - European Union - Agricultural Secretariate


Born, Raised and Travelled

  • Ruben was born and raised in Cape Town where he completed his schooling and became a tradesman.
  • After completing his first degree in Cape Town, Ruben pursued further higher education opportunities in the USA, Switzerland and Germany.
  •  Soon after graduating with a PhD from the University of Cape Town in 1995, and a short stint as a local and international university lecturer Ruben was absorbed by 10 years of active employment in various mangerial-leadership positions aimed at transforming the criminal justice system of South Africa.
  • After a period of entrepreneurial and business activity, Ruben has again gravitated towards the library bookshelves plying his skills as an Author, Teacher and Speaker.


Education and Skills

Ruben has completed some engineering studies as well as 4 degrees from three different countries.

  • PhD (Univ of Cape Town);
  • BD (Ruschlikon-Zurich, Switzerland);
  • MTh (Holland-Michigan, USA);
  • BSocSc (Univ of Cape Town)
  • NTC 5 (Mechanical Engineering) - Athlone Technical College, Cape Town


Executive Positions previously held

  • CEO - Globe Engineering Works, Cape Town (private company)
  • CEO - Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • Chairman - Cape Shiprepair Initiative, A government/business liaisson Section 21 company
  • Deputy Director-General -  Scorpions (National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa)
  • Executive Secretary  - Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)
  • Guest Professor - Albion College, Michigan-USA
  • Lecturer - Wits University
  • Tutor to academically disadvantaged students - University of Cape Town