Dr Sindi van Zyl has a strong connection to three things: South Africa, medicine and radio.
The first is due to her mother being a South African Zulu woman, and though Dr Sindi was born and raised in Harare, Zimbabwe, she kept close ties with the land of her mother’s birth. South Africa is where she completed her medical degree at the University of Pretoria (Tuks).
Dr Sindi’s natural ability to communicate well with others led her to audition for a post at what was then known as Radio Tuks. In 1996, she got a chance to pursue her first love – radio – as a newsreader on the well-known campus station. She happily worked at the radio station until it came time to renew her commitment to her second love, medicine.
After taking what she describes as “the scenic route” enrolling first for a BSc before proceeding to medicine, Dr Sindi went on to specialise in Primary Health Care.
At a point 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: “I was born to be a doctor. I knew at age four.”
Describing the nature of her work, Dr Sindi says:
“I realised that I could leverage my social media presence with medical knowledge aimed at helping people make better health decisions. As a medical doctor – with a particular interest in the Prevention-of-Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV programme (PMTCT), I am determined to help create an HIV-free generation by imparting knowledge that empowers patients and health workers.”
In 2001, Dr Sindi met and fell in love with her future husband Marinus Emmanuel van Zyl at church. The two have been married for 14 years and have two beautiful children together, Nandi, who is nine years old, and Marinus Emmanuel Jr (known as Manie), who is six years old.
Dr Sindi says there have been challenges to being in an interracial marriage, but she and Marinus are definitely going strong.
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