Both Nico and his wife, Loël, grew up on farms on South Africa. After completing university Nico worked in the Department of Native Affairs. In 1953 he was invited to attend a Moral Re-Armament (MRA) conference in Lusaka, Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) where he met Dr William Nkomo and other members of the African National Congress.
While working in the Department of Native Affairs Nico was sent to Sophiatown, Johannesburg, by his boss to help ‘facilitate’ the forced removal of black South Africans to what is now Soweto. During this time he made a point of meeting one of the militant leaders of the community, Philip Qipa Vundla and they remained friends for life.
Later, Nico resigned his job and worked full-time with MRA in the USA, some European countries, Brazil and various African countries.
Loël was invited to attend an international conference at Caux, Switzerland, along with her brother, Fred. She then worked with MRA on a full-time basis in various European countries, Mackinac Island, USA and in West Africa.
After their marriage in London, Nico and Loël worked for 18 months in Nigeria where they were involved with the making of the film “Freedom.”
In 1965 they were expelled from Nigeria just before the military coup. They returned to South Africa and began the musical “Springbok Stampede”, a youth leadership training programme. The musical criss-crossed South Africa and travelled to Mozambique, Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, Swaziland having a considerable effect on many lives.
After 15 years of voluntary, non-salaried work, Nico started working with various companies and became involved in various programmes to encourage job creation opportunities, economic and social development, educational and training facilities and improvements in working and living conditions of the poor and unemployed and more. This led the Ferreiras to re-locate to the town of Stutterheim in the Eastern Cape, a town in serious crisis with strikes, unemployment and poverty. They became involved with various initiatives to build trust, reconciliation and bridges between races and groups in the community. In 1988 Nico was elected Mayor of the town.