Rifaat Emeran

In Memorium, 1958-2021
Rifaat Emeran
Rifaat Emeran, Zanzibar 2018

On 4 November 2021, we learnt of the untimely passing of our friend and colleague Rifaat Emeran after a short struggle with illness. Our tribute to him is available here.

In this space, we invite friends, colleagues, and all those who knew Rifaat to share their condolences and memories of him. Hamba kahle, Rifaat.

I have many happy memories of working with Rifaat, over the course of a good number of years. The memory that stands out the most is the occasion when, acting in a network management capacity for UCT, he called for a service review with Neotel to address a range of intractable problems. Neotel must have sent fifteen people to the meeting, all of whom proceeded to argue at length with Rifaat, challenging his facts or pleading with him to excuse the underperformance of which he was complaining. Rifaat heard them out calmly, quietly, and with the utmost and gravest politeness, and insisted with iron resolution that they address the issues he was complaining of. Needless to say, they eventually went away and did exactly that. It was this capacity for calm. polite toughness which he exemplified as a key competence in a service management role, a capacity he later put to good use after he joined TENET.

Beyond that, and many skills beside, he contributed deep wisdom, ethical standards of the highest order, and profound kindness and caring, to TENET's work on behalf of its community. All these things, and his wry sense of humour and flashing intelligence, will be sorely missed.

Duncan Greaves

I'd returned to the UK by the time Rifaat came on board at TENET, but I had some follow up activity with him over the handover of the videoconferencing service. I always found him patient, courteous and quick to grasp the essence of what we were dealing with. I am far way now but can only feel for his family and colleagues in dealing with this sudden and untimely loss.

Rob Bristow

Dear Rifaat.

I did not expect to have to say goodbye to you so soon. Goodbyes are never easy, but this one hits harder because I respected you so much. I remember the days working at UCT library dealing with network issues and knowing that when I phoned you my problems will be fixed. You had a way of making things work and encouraged people to provide excellent support. Your attitude was that there always was a solution to a problem. That is a lesson I will carry with me forever. I am grateful to have been your colleague both at UCT and in the last 3 years at TENET. I am going to miss the random jokes, conversations, you calling my "youngster" and lastly me being able to say hello oom (uncle) when I see you in the office passage and randomly over the weekend if I saw you in the Athlone area. Rest well my friend and thank you for all the great memories.

To Rifaat's family and friends, my deepest sympathy on the passing of your husband, father, and friend.

Wesley Barry

Inna lillahi wa Inna ilayhi rajiun

Very sad to hear of the loss of Rifaat, such a gentle, caring soul. He was always so pleasant with everyone he came across.

My sincere condolences to his family. May Allah swt grant him the highest place in Jannah IA.

Firdous Jamie

My deepest condolences to Rifaat's family and friends

Rifaat was not just a colleague. I consider him a friend that I have known and worked with for many years, both at UCT and TENET.

What stands out most for me is standing in the doorway to his office in the mornings, talking to him about memories and experiences. Rifaat always had a way of sharing his wisdom positively. With Rifaat, things were never going bad; he would always answer me with "dit gaan geweldig"…

Rest in peace, my friend. I will miss you.

Donald Coetzee

I have known Rifaat since the UCT-ICTS days – probably 1996.
I fondly remember his liberal use of "what-you-call-it" when he was explaining something – a negligible chink in a formidable amour of conversing. When one dealt with Rifaat, his calm and candid way of communicating meant that you never left his company without you knowing where you stood with him.
Somewhere in 2000 or so, I was embroiled in a nasty incident at UCT. Whilst other people may have relied on corridor chats and speculations, Rifaat was the only one that came to me directly and asked; "Meneer, what do I hear about you stealing UCT stuff?" This forthrightness greatly added to the respect I had for him.
The practical and strict application of his faith was also commendable - not only in what he requested from others but more in how he submitted himself to its tenets.
Rifaat's was mostly private about his family but when he referred to them it was with passion and love.
Rushda, Afeefa, Rashad and the extended family, may the memory and legacy of Rifaat, together with your faith sustain you through this difficult period and beyond.

Richard Jonathan

Rifaat was one of those people you'd heard of long before you met them. I got to know him while he was still at UCT and I was at Rhodes. I doubt either of us would have predicted that we'd eventually both leave our institutions and start at TENET, let alone that it'd happen at roughly the same time.

Quiet and unassuming yet steadfast and principled, Rifaat was a staunch defender of what he believed right. A problem-solver, he often looked outside the box. We didn't necessarily always agree, but he had an opinion worth listening to when he spoke!

In the office, Rifaat was a father figure to many. His voice, wit, and cheerful banter will be sorely missed.

Deepest condolences to his family and the community he left behind. Hamba kahle.

Guy Halse

I worked for many years under Rifaat in the Networks Dept at UCT. No matter what happened he was always ready with a word of encouragement. He often went the extra mile for his workers but refused to take credit for it. No one could question his thoroughness and utter professionalism. I learnt much from him and could always approach him anytime as he had the open door and that listening ear and you went away with that much needed word of wisdom and more. I will miss you my friend. Rest well and in peace

Russell Smith

I knew Rifaat for just under 2 years, but the impact he made in my life will be remembered for years to come. My other Dad who reprimanded me with just one word "meisiekind".

I will miss our conversations that began with work and navigated to topics on family, life and spiritual beliefs. Rifaat was never biased or condescending. He effortlessly gave sound, thought provoking advice.

To his family and friends, deepest sympathy. I pray that peace will be your portion during this season. Rest well Rifaat, in the eternal glory of God..

Charmaine Paulus

Deepest condolences to the Family. I worked with Rifaat at UCT from 1989 and our paths crossed occasionally until he joined TENET a few years back, until COVID cut that down too. He always behaved in a way that clearly conveyed his thinking, but never raising anyone's hackles, an amazing trait. I never saw him angry, he could respond without getting himself or those around him worked up.
Expert without any arrogance. An amazing person to work with. If we saw this as colleagues, I cannot imagine what the family are feeling..... RIP Rifaat.

Len Lotz

Words cannot express how heartbreaking it is to realize that Rifaat is not with us anymore. He has made a positive impact on all of our lives, and we are forever grateful to him for all the support we received from him. The quick responses, guidance and patience will all be missed. He was such a motivating person whose work was an example for all of us. It is unbelievable how short one’s life can become. Fare well thee, Rifaat

Themba Mnisi

I only had the pleasure of dealing with Rifaat on a few occasions but I shall always remember him for the absolute professional, friendly and efficient person that he was. Qualities that I am not at all surprised to hear are echoed by his colleagues and friends. You will be sorely missed Rifaat. Rest in peace.

Eugene van der Lingen

Very sad to hear of Rifaat's passing. Condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

Rifaat, I will remember you as a sincere colleague who always had time to share a few words and who was genuinely interested to get to know me. Recently, I saw a different side of you in your steadfast activism, against human tragedies in Palestine, that should inspire more people to speak up for the causes that they believe in.

May your soul be at peace.

Garth Scholtz

My deepest condolences to Rifaat’s wife, family and friends.
I will miss and remember Rifaat for the gentle and delightful person he was. His polite and friendly behaviour with sporadic playfulness made it a pleasure to be in his presence. The world would be a better place if more people had Rifaat’s demeanour to remain composed and courteous even in the midst of disparity and conflict. May you rest in eternal peace Rifaat.

rene kiewiet

Rifaat, you exasperated me sometimes and encouraged me even more, all with a smile on your face and in a measured calm way. Thank you for always providing a perspective on things for me, and always having your door open for me to pour my heart out to you on a wide range of topics and issues. It was good to be able to draw on your wide experience in many things. I am especially appreciative as to how you relished working with, leading, and growing our colleagues in the Service Support Centre, primarily in all things Zoom, and moreover, with wise advice for our respective lives in general, so much so that you were affectionately known by the team as “Captain”. Rifaat, you bore your illness without complaint and when you must have been desperately sick, you sounded so upbeat and positive regardless. This epitomizes how you dealt with things. I know that your family must be feeling you leaving them very keenly and my prayers are with them during this difficult time as they adjust to life without you. You will be missed.


Rifaat was a absolute blessing during the pandemic and rose to every occasion when called on whilst we served at the pleasure of the Ministerial Advisory Committee. He understood the pressure we faced and became an immediate extension to our team in every facet. Light night calls for capacity increase and zoom requests never went unanswered.

May his blessed soul rest in eternal peace.

wayne janneker

Boeta Rifaat or Boets for short is how I knew him my entire life (Boeta is a Cape Malay title of respect). Boets was one of my older brother (Boeta) Ebrahim's best friends.

He always had that warm smile and pleasant demeanor ready to engage one sincerely and respectfully.

His generation, and the one before theirs, planted seeds of possibility in our young and impressionable minds.... it was this influence that lead me to believe that one day, despite being classified as 'coloured' (by inferior minds), I too could attend, work and even be a leader at UCT. I have been blessed to achieve what they inspired me to do.

His Toyota was a legendary sight to behold, always smoothly cruising up the hills of Bokaap.

Salaam Boets! May you ascend to the ultimate heights in the true life beyond.... much like UCT, you make me believe that perhaps one day I too could be successful and join you at those heavenly heights.

Shukran for the inspiration and memories.

"Hiemie se broetjie"

Dr M. Faadiel Williams

Sending heartfelt condolences to the family, the friends, and to all those who worked with Rifaat.

My interactions with Rifaat began in 2018, through Amazon Web Services. Rifaat was always ready to give an ear to myself and the team. I will miss his candour which was always accompanied by a calm and friendly disposition; his advice and willingness to explore solutions to problems, even those which did not fall within his remit.

Thandi Majola

My deepest condolences to the Emeran family.

Today I have a fulfilling career in Networking because I followed the footsteps of this great mentor.

I worked under Rifaat for 8 years at UCT and he became more than just a manager. To me he was a leader, a brother and a friend.

Your unexpected departure has left a void that is impossible to fill. I will miss your guidance, sense of humor and engaging conversation.

Rest in peace Rifaat and may your family find comfort. It was a pleasure working with you.

Erisan Nyamutenha

I worked with Rifaat for a few years @ UCT. Always calm, always smiling and always approachable. Very friendly yet still firm leader. Every Monday morning conversation had to start with him teasing me about Gunners performance over the weekend...he will be missed dearly.
Sithi lala ngoxolo gently soul!

Thamsanqa Khanye -TK

I was fortunate enough to work with and under Rifaat at UCT and got an opportunity to see what a great man he was.
You will be missed Rifaat and I want to extend my deepest sympathy to the family and friends.

Rest in eternal peace Rifaat.

Gibson Moses

Rifaat was a teacher, leader and a father figure. Thank you for playing a huge role in my personal development. I will miss the random conversation around life and Orlando Pirates which we both support(ed).

My sincere condolences to the family and friends. Rest in peace Captain Rifaat.

Tsepo Ndlovu

I had the great privilege of working with Rifaat at UCT. I have wonderful memories of his delightfully dry sense of humour, his dedication to service, his kindness, compassion and strong sense of justice.

Heartfelt sympathies to his family.

Pippa Moll

Firstly I would like to convey my sincere condolences to the Emeran family, all Rifaat's colleagues and friends.

I met Rifaat in 1999 at UCT when I started as a Novell Systems Engineer and we became good friends. What struck me about Rifaat is his friendly and engaging manner always willing to advise and assist. His vast knowledge and experience in the networking environment contributed immensely to the network we have at UCT currently.

Rifaat we will surely miss you my friend. Go well and may your soul rest in peace.

Ashley Rustin

Ashley Rustin

Rifaat had a strong character and a calm demeanor, even as I dealt with him from a distance whilst he was at UCT. My strongest memory in the NOC is that Rifaat never knew a "blue Monday". He was very helpful and knew how we need to escalate matters satisfactorily to ensure services are restored and stable. He welcomed me back to TENET and sent best wishes, his words ring true that I could never find a better mentor than Lynette. He availed himself to me immediately if I had any need. My colleagues affectionately referred to him as "Captain" and I could see the easy leader he was when he dealt with all Zoom-related issues. Rifaat had the most positive influence.

To Rifaat's family, the soul that is gone was indeed a great one, he shined bright even in darkness. May his soul rest in peace.
I am sorry for your loss

Theo Tshitahe

Rifaat will be fondly missed for his friendliness and professionalism. He will be missed in the HE sector. Condolences to his family both at home and at TENET.

Creswell Du Preez

I met Rifaat on joining the board at Tenet. I always found him to be friendly and he always had a smile that disarmed me the instant I met him. He assisted in setting up Zoom for the Dept of Medicine's FCP Refresher course. What was always heart warming is his readiness to assist and wanting to ensure that the tools and services that fell within his ambit were ticking away for those that accessed these and that he was available 24/7 for any support or intervention that required his attention. Even though it was a very short few years that I became to know Rifaat his passing did shock me. All the strength to his family, friends and colleagues who will surely miss Rifaat.

Dr Hasmyukh Gajjar

Very sad to learn of the passing of Rifaat. I worked with him closely on the deployment of Zoom in my organisation. He was a great guy, May your soul rest in eternal peace.

Melusi Nkosi
Leave your own memory

Feel free to leave your own thoughts and memories about Rifaat Emeran below.
Only plain text is accepted. Your email address will not be displayed.