Hennie was born in Bloemfontein in 1941. He attended school and university in the same city, where he qualified as a teacher.
In 1983 he started a career as a professional artist.
His approach is strongly influenced by the character and mood of the subject matter he is portraying. Hennie derives his inspiration from the local environment. He paints farm labourers harvesting wheat or picking fruit, fynbos pickers collecting bouquets of indigenous flowers and fisher folk sorting their catch.
These outdoor scenes are depicted in strong sun colours, giving expression to the African sunlight and the buzz of activity.
He works mainly in oils and sometimes uses pastels over the oils in mixed media on paper. This creates softer, subtler finish when painting interior scenes. Paintings using this technique are some of Hennie’s most beautiful work.
Today Hennie numbers among the country’s senior and most revered artists, with a career of virtually five decades, nearly three of them full-time. His knowledge of South African Art is well regarded.