Kaya FM: Dr Sindi’s openness made her relatable to many S. Africans

‘Dr Sindi’, as she was affectionately known, passed away on Saturday at a Johannesburg hospital at the age of 45. She had been hospitalised after contracting COVID-19.

Popular medical doctor and media personality Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl passed away on 10 April 2021 at the age of 45 from COVID-related complications. Picture: Twitter/@sindivanzyl

JOHANNESBURG – Johannesburg-based radio station, Kaya FM has joined many South Africans in mourning the passing of well known medical doctor and the station’s host Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl.

‘Dr Sindi’, as she was affectionately known, passed away on Saturday at a Johannesburg hospital at the age of 45.

She had been hospitalised after contracting COVID-19.

A much-loved presenter on and off-air, she gained popularity through her activism and talk shows - during which she discussed everything from mental health to HIV and sexuality.

Kaya FM has described the woman dubbed “the people's doctor" as a passionate champion of generosity, love and kindness.

Van Zyl joined the radio station as a resident doctor in 2019 to host the “Sidebar with Sindi” show.

The station’s acting programming manager Ncebakazi Manzi said it was at the station that the revered medic used her vast knowledge to advocate for access to health and information.

“She was someone who would be angered by injustice. She really hated the idea of people suffering. She was often in conversation about access to health care. She just couldn’t understand the thought of somebody not being able to access health care, and as a result she would often see people without paying.”

Manzi said it Dr Sindi’s openness and vulnerability that made her relatable to her listeners and to her more than 283,000 Twitter followers.

“She was someone who was also very comfortable with opening herself up. That kind of openness made her relatable.”

Many of social media have shared memories of moments the late medic shared with them about her family.

They’ve directed their thoughts and condolences to Van Zyl’s husband Marinus, and the couple’s two children, Nandi and Manie – who she lovingly referred to as her ‘caramellos’.

Just last week South Africans rallied behind Dr Sindi and raised more than R1.5 million to help contribute towards her hospital treatment costs.

On Sunday morning, the hashtag #ADressForSindi was trending on Twitter, with many sharing their snaps in colourful, print dresses in honour of the late doctor.

Van Zyl had made many public appearances donning beautiful dresses, often made with African print cloth.

Fashion designer Thula Sindi posted an image of a dress which he says he had kept for Dr Sindi, but she never got a chance to wear it.

In February Van Zyl tweeted a picture of the dress saying, "I cannot wait for my first fitting."

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