Motivational Speaker

An accomplished public speaker, Dean has delivered motivational talks at academic, cultural and social events around the world.

With a CV that includes invitations to the House of Commons in London, as well as Twickenham, the home of the English Rugby Union, his fascinating take on sport, culture and history has impressed audiences throughout Europe, Australia, North America and the Far East. Dean’s media work includes TV consultancy and appearances  (for BBC, ITV, SABC and KykNET) and radio (Fine Music Radio, SAfm; Classic FM, Power FM, Radio 2000 and Radio Today, South Africa and the BBC World Service, BBC Radio 2 and talkSPORT in the United Kingdom and Worldwide).

A specialist in South African affairs, Dean regularly gives talks and lectures throughout the country. In recent years, his keynote addresses have both educated and entertained a wide variety of corporates, schools, clubs and associations. His is also available for private, exclusive functions. Dean is also a popular choice for MC roles and after dinner speaking. His content is always finely tuned and aligned to the audience, and his delivery energetic, engaging and motivational.


“The man who brings history to life.”

Bath Rotary Club


“Dear Dean, I wish to thank you for the amazing story about Matjiesfontein and the entertaining presentation. I clung to your lips as I last did with the legendary David Rattray at Isandhlwana.
I shall certainly ‘tune in’ to all your upcoming lectures. A fan for life.”

Cassie Badenhorst


“I was blown away by your presentation!”

Carla Silverman, Regional Sales Executive, Gearhouse SA Ltd.


“It was a real pleasure having Dean Allen speak our recent Business Travel industry event. I loved how he took our brief and tailored his talk to suit the theme, speaking to the local tourism industry from an international perspective. His presentation was to the point and he managed to get quite a few laughs from the room! We look forward to using Dean’s skills and insights at our future events.”

Tes M. Proos, President, SITE Africa.


“Thank you for your passionate South African insights.”

Peter-John Mitrovich, CEO, Grosvenor Tours.


“It was an absolute pleasure having you as our guest speaker at our events. My work is so much more enjoyable when working with professional people like yourself!”

Suzette Ehlers, Communications Manager, Netto Invest. 


“Dean as a human being has three of the essential bones in his make up: A wish bone; a back bone and a funny bone! I was blown away by his connection with the audience. May he share his experiences for future generations.”

Brenda Falconer, Knysna U3A.


“What a fantastic story delivered with such passion, inspiration and humour.”

Les Christiansen, President, Exe Valley Rotary Club.


“During my life, both professional and personal, I have been fortunate to be in attendance when famous and not so famous have given speeches and / or insights into their lives. Without a doubt the contribution you made last night towards my education of South African history, culture, cricket, war and politics was immense. Your personal style of presentation was for me, and I am sure all those attending, a revelation, not only for the command of your subject, but also done without notes. Your passion was clearly evident and this was demonstrated by everyone there giving the loudest and longest applause for your speech, certainly in my time as a member.”

Stuart Pemberton, Leicester Cricket Society.


“Fascinating historical content. Excellent delivery – clear voice and confident and no use of notes. Dean has enthusiasm and great presence.”

Sue Hazlerigg, Purbeck U3A.


“I attended one of Dean’s speaking engagements and was hugely impressed. The content was not only factually accurate, but the anecdotes and his delivery are without exception, riveting. As a speaker, he has a natural ability to entertain the audience with his ‘more about this later’ hook. A myriad of clues takes the audience through a labyrinth of well researched evidence, telling an important and as yet, relatively unknown story. I found the talk hugely interesting … If I may quote my colleague, with whom I attended the event, “Dean is a speaker from whom many would do well to emulate.”

Laurence Dann, Hampshire Cricket Society.


“Thank you for a wonderful evening. Everyone who spoke to me afterwards described your talk as one our best ever. You certainly have a real gift for conveying a complex story – with a setting and cast largely unfamiliar here – and enthusing your audience with your presenting style.”

Maggie Sumner, Secretary, East Riding Cricket Society.


“I just have to write and compliment you on organising the lecture today by
Dr. Dean Allen. It was compelling listening and viewing and he made the
subject so interesting. I’m not a football or even a sporting fan but the
whole subject was so interesting. Quite one of the best lectures I’ve ever
attended and so well structured and clear to understand.”

Ron White, Johannesburg U3A.


“After listening to your talk I found I was revitalised and re-energised.”

Yasmin Johnson, CEO, Discover Cape Town.

Selected Keynote Talks

‘Empire, War and Cricket in South Africa’: The Incredible Story of Matjiesfontein

Based upon my best-selling book, Empire, War and Cricket, this fully illustrated talk has entertained and inspired international audiences around the world. It tells the story of James Logan, a young Scottish entrepreneur who made his name and fortune in South Africa during the late 1800s. An important figure culturally and politically, at the age of just 24 Logan created the famous Victorian town Matjiesfontein in the Karoo. He was also responsible for bringing international sport to South Africa. The talk teaches us important lessons from history, in terms of business, entrepreneurship and overcoming barriers to achieving one’s goals. It is a controversial yet thought-provoking story of opportunism and destiny from which many lessons and comparisons can be made today.

‘Frontier Land’: Tales from the African Frontier

Based upon my new books, Frontier Land explores one of South Africa’s most captivating regions. The Eastern Cape is a land of rich history and fascinating people and as the birthplace of Nelson Mandela, it has been at the frontier of shaping modern-day South Africa. This fully illustrated talk will take the audience on a fascinating journey and tell the stories of the people and places at the heart of this wonderfully diverse province. Tales of regeneration and hope will leave the audience inspired.

‘How the Cape Was Won’: The Creation of the Mother City

Cape Town is arguably one of the most iconic cities in South Africa, if not the world. This fully illustrated talk will introduce the audience to the history of Cape Town (aka the ‘Mother City’) as the birthplace of modern-day South Africa. 

‘Rugby & Reconciliation’: How a Game Saved a Nation

Sport and the game of rugby in particular are intrinsic to the character of South Africa. ‘Rugby & Reconciliation’ tells the amazing story of the 1906 Springboks – the first-ever team to tour outside of the country. Incredibly, this tour took place only 4 years after the South African War and fielded players who had fought against each other in this most bitter of conflicts! Fast-forward to 1995, and who could forget that image of President Nelson Mandela handing Springbok captain Francois Pienaar the World Cup trophy? Clint Eastwood even made a movie about it! And, now, in 2019 we have a new hero in World Cup winning captain Siya Kolisi – the first ever black South African to lift the trophy. Based upon years of research, this fully illustrated talk will reveal the incredible story behind the game of rugby in South Africa and how it has been used throughout history to unite a nation. It is an inspiring presentation that contains many important messages about the indomitable spirit of people and how to work together by overcoming differences. Suitable for anyone who enjoys informative and entertaining history, this is a story not to be missed!

‘Rebranding Africa’: 2010 and the Tournament that Changed the Perception of a Continent

In 2010 Shakira sang “This Time for Africa” and the world’s focus was on the African continent, as for the first time in history, a major international mega-event was held in South Africa. This illuminating talk describes the significance of hosting the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup as part of Africa’s global development.   

‘The Greater Game’: How Sport Changed the World

Sport is big business and an important part of modern society. This fully illustrated talk takes the audience on a fascinating journey through history from the Greek and Roman Empires to the creation of modern sport in the Victorian era to the multi-billion dollar industry that sport has become in today’s world. The talk, based upon my years of teaching at leading international universities, provides the audience with lessons from history in terms of business development, societal change as well as inspirational stories of the human ability to develop and adapt. 

‘Africa’s Burden’: Slavery and the Shaping of our Modern World

This emotive talk will explain the impact of the slave trade on the creation of empires and the modern world and how it impacted the African continent. Understanding our past is an important part of our journey towards equality and transformation. 

‘Rewilding Africa’: How Animals are Reclaiming the Continent

Based upon my current research, this fascinating talk will reveal the project to rewild large parts of the African continent and return it to its natural state. The example of the Eastern Cape shall be explored where, recently, elephants were re-introduced to areas where they had once roamed 200 years ago. It is a truly inspirational story.

‘By Royal Approval’: The 1947 Royal Tour to Southern Africa

1947 was a special year for Southern Africa as King George VI, Queen Elizabeth, Princess Elizabeth (the future Queen) and Princess Margaret embarked on a three-month Tour of South Africa, Southern Rhodesia, Swaziland, Basutoland and the Bechuanaland Protectorate. Not only was it their only joint Tour as a family, for many it was viewed the ‘last hurrah’ of the British Empire. This fascinating and fully-illustrated talk will take the audience on a journey of nostalgia and explain the significance of this visit all those years ago. 

This Week in History: 7 Days that Shaped Our World

Based upon my This Day in History series of books, this entertaining talk will cover 7 individual stories or events that occurred during this week in history. Each day, corresponding with that particular week, will have a carefully selected story from history that will enthral the audience.

Our Nation Our Stories

For far too long South Africa has been misrepresented as a divided country. This is a groundbreaking presentation that highlights the positives about our shared cultures and histories. I will be joined on stage by a Xhosa-Speaking artist and we will encourage positive discussion about our road at the ‘Rainbow Nation’ towards equality and transformation.

‘Surviving 1918’: The Year that Challenged the World

On the back of the world’s ‘Great War’, the Spanish Flu pandemic that began in 1918, infected over a quarter of the world’s population with a death-toll as high as 100 million. It remains the planet’s worst natural disaster. This impactful talk will hold the attention of the audience as it brings to life the tragedy of those times while drawing valuable parallels with our current challenges involving COVID. This inspirational and thought-provoking talk has been delivered to audiences around the globe and is not to be missed!


Other Specialties

  • Sports in business – embracing effective teamwork by valuing the contribution of others
  • The business of sport – have we sold our souls? A look back to when sport was a passion, not a pay cheque
  • Teamwork or synergy – is sport changing
  • Sport and Empires
  • Sports history in South Africa
  • How world history has been shaped by sport
  • Sport and empowerment – what disadvantaged communities can teach us
  • Then and now – sport’s role in rebuilding post-Apartheid South Africa

 Please Note that all my talks can be adapted in terms of length and style to meet your specific needs.

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