Hendrik Hanekom and his wife Mathilda were pioneers of Afrikaans professional theatre. Hendrik died on *14 January 1952 in the Strand, Cape Town.
Throughout his career, Hanekom promoted folk theatre and met a real need among Afrikaans theatregoers. His productions also helped to create theatre awareness in the rural areas. Some of the actors who made their debut under his guidance include James Norval, Siegfried Mynhardt and Berdine Grunewald.
In 1945, the Medal of Honour for Drama was awarded jointly to Hanekom and Matilda by the Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns, in recognition of their pioneering work in the field of the Afrikaans professional theatre. A collection of Hanekom's documents are preserved in the National Afrikaans Literature Museum.
*Note: Some sources say he died on 12 January 1952