In Memoriam: Hendrik Christoffel Ferreira

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Tribute to Hendrik Ferreira, who passed away in November 2018.
In Memoriam: Hendrik Christoffel Ferreira

Hendrik Christoffel Ferreira, 1954–2018

Professor Hendrik Christoffel (H.C.) Ferreira (born 1954) passed away on November 30, 2018 after suffering from a wasting disease. He was a Research Professor in the Centre for Telecommunications in the Electrical and Electronic Engineering department of the University of Johannesburg (Previously known as RAU). He started his career at the Rand Afrikaanse University in 1983, where he was promoted to full professor in 1989. He was instrumental in developing a research group on digital communications, with information theory as its center point of focus.  Prof. Ferreira has been a pioneering initiator and stimulator of coding for data storage systems such as deletion correcting codes, DC free codes and runlength constrained codes.  He was a pioneer in powerline communications. The IEEE Communications Society awarded the 2013 ISPLC Award to him with citation “For his contributions towards Research and Education in Power Line Communications.” During 2013, the NRF awarded him the coveted A-Rating for researchers who after independent peer evaluation are recognized by a majority of peers as “Leading  international Researcher. In recognition of his excellence in research and educating post-graduate students, he has been appointed as a research professor at the University of Johannesburg in 2007.

Hendrik contributed at the university to the transformation of South Africa from an “apartheid” state into a multicultural nation. In contrast to many other professors, Hendrik stayed in South Africa under difficult circumstances, and his enthusiasm never wavered and he continued to make contributions to our field. To solve the problem of isolation, he invited many foreign scientists to visit the University of Johannesburg and in this way played an important role in creating international projects for his PhD students. Hendrik was the chairman for the 1999 Information Theory Workshop in the Kruger Park, the first Winter School on Information Theory in Africa in 2010, the 2013 International Symposium on Powerline Communications, and many more. 

Hendrik was a well respected tennis player at ISIT. His greatest hobby was photography, where he reached a professional level. In 2004 he was awarded the cover photograph of the coffee table book “Getaway Gallery”.  Hendrik survived his beloved wife Hester by more than 10 years.

— Han Vinck