Sindi van Zyl
BornDoreen Sindisiwe Mahamba-Sithole
(1976-04-03)April 3, 1976
DiedApril 10, 2021(2021-04-10) (aged 45)
Johannesburg, South Africa
Cause of deathCovid-19
EducationUniversity of Pretoria
  • Medical Doctor
Known forMedicine
Spouse(s)Marinus Emmanuel van Zyl (m. 2003)

Sindi van Zyl popularly known as Dr Sindi was a South African medical doctor and HIV expert. She died on 10 April 2021 from Covid-19 in a Johannesburg hospital.


Dr Sindi was born and raised in Harare, Zimbabwe. Her mother was a South African Zulu woman.[1] Dr Sindi was born Doreen Sindisiwe Mahamba-Sithole.[2][3]


Muchadeyi Masunda


Dr Sindi's husband is Marinus Emmanuel van Zyl. The two met in 2001 at church.[1] In 2003, when Dr Sindi’s professor heard she was marrying a white Afrikaner, he called her aside during a ward round and asked her not to change her surname. He told her if her surname changed to Van Zyl, it would create an unfair expectation in patients' minds.[2] Dr Sindi and her husband got married on 7 August 2004.[3]


Dr Sindi had two children; Nandi and Manie.[3]


Sindi attended Arundel School.
She completed her medical degree at the University of Pretoria. Dr Sindi first enrolled for a BSc before proceeding to medicine. She went on to specialise in Primary Health Care. During her BSc studies, Dr Sindi had to do a physiology course in Afrikaans, a challenge which she took in her stride because it was leading her to finally fulfilling a childhood dream of being a medical doctor.[1]


Whilst at the University of Pretoria, Dr Sindi auditioned for a post at what was then known as Radio Tuks. In 1996, she was a newsreader for Radio Tuks. She worked on the campus radio until her graduation. Dr Sindi has shared her medical knowledge in magazines such as BONA, True Love and O, as well as on radio.


A crowdfunding campaign for Sindi Van Zyl's medical bills raised more than R1m after it emerged that she had no medical aid when she was admitted to hospital in February, battling to breathe. Van Zyl was diagnosed with Covid-19 at the beginning of 2021 and spent seven weeks in intensive care — at a cost of up to R200,000 a week.[4][5]


Dr Sindi died on Saturday morning 10th April 2021 in a Johannesburg hospital aged 45. Her death was announced by the Van Zyl family in a statement posted on Kaya FM's website. She had been on a ventilator for a while with Covid-19 having sparked a public outpouring of support.[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Scenic Drive with Rian, Dr Sindi van Zyl talks to Rian about medicine in the age of social media, Jacaranda FM, Published: May 17, 2018, Retrieved: March 20, 2021
  2. 2.0 2.1 Katharine Child, What’s the colour of love?, TimesLive, Published: April 9, 2018, Retrieved: March 20, 2021
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Dr Sindi, sindivanzyl, Twitter, Published: November 8, 2017, Retrieved: March 20, 2021
  4. 4.0 4.1 Radio host and medical doctor Sindi van Zyl dies of Covid-19, News24, Published: April 10, 2021, Retrieved: April 10, 2021
  5. Dr Sindi dies aged 45 after two-month fight for life in hospital, TimesLive, Published: April 10, 2021, Retrieved: April 10, 2021