He was born 14 July 1893 on the farm Klipfontein. He was a lawyer. In 1929 he became the volksraadlid for Waterberg.
On 30 November 1954, he was elected leader of the National Party and Prime Minister of South Africa. Strijdom's extreme policies resulted in the removal of Coloureds from the common voters roll and the extended 'treason trial' of 156 activists (including Nelson Mandela) involved in the Freedom Charter.
After a short term in office he died on 24 Augustus 1958 in Capetown.