Association members, Board members and staff at Doctors Without Borders (MSF) Southern Africa share the profound loss following the death of Dr Sindi van Zyl, the “people’s doctor”.
The medical doctor, health activist and broadcaster was a dedicated member of MSF Southern Africa’s board of directors from 2014-2015.
We lost a dear friend and comrade in care – a woman whose passion for helping others inspired us and helped MSF ensure access to healthcare became a reality for people in Southern Africa and beyond while prioritising medical care that is above all, always patient-centred.
Dr Sindi will be remembered for more than merely practising medicine. She understood that ensuring access to medical care was an essential act of resistance against injustice and that it should always be impartial and without borders. She was a trusted confidante to many in need and demonstrated deep compassion and the humanitarian spirit. Many of us will remember her calls to action to expand reproductive healthcare and access to safe abortion care for women in Southern Africa while reminding us that good healthcare goes beyond physical health but requires also meeting the mental health needs of patients.
In the years following her departure from MSF Southern Africa’s board, Dr Sindi remained a generous and active supporter of MSF and the work our fieldworkers do in Southern Africa and internationally. We remain ever grateful for the influence she had on our people and organisation, and we admire her tremendous impact on thousands of lives through her work as a medical doctor, activist and broadcaster, especially on issues linked to HIV.
We extend our sincere condolences to her husband, Marinus, and children Nandi and Manie. You are in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.
Hamba kahle, Dr Sindi. Lala ngoxolo.
Agnes Musonda – MSF Southern Africa Board President
Andrew Mews – MSF Southern Africa Executive Director