Obituaries ⚰

It’s been a sad few days for the world as some key figures both locally and abroad passed away.

◾️Locally, we mourn Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl, a humanitarian, medical doctor, health activist and radio DJ. Known for her kindness and humility, Dr van Zyl, aged 45, passed away on 10 April two months after she was diagnosed with Covid-19. When SA learned of her diagnosis and the mounting medical costs, they contributed to a crowdfunding drive organised by her family and friends that raised more than R1 million. Upon her death thousands of tributes started pouring in: perhaps the sweetest of them all were those who, in honour of the woman known for her bold prints and dresses with pockets, posted pictures of themselves celebrating that style. Dr van Zyl’s memorial service was held today. 

◾️The death of anti-apartheid activist and education expert Graeme Bloch is another sad loss. Bloch was suffering from an illness and passed away at the age of 65. During the struggle, he was detained and arrested several times for his involvement in the democratic movement. He is being lauded for his contribution to SA’s intellectual and organisational leadership. 

◾️The untimely death of Anele “Nellie” Tembe, the 22-year-old fiance of rapper AKA, was also a shock for South Africa. Tembe fell to her death on Sunday from the penthouse of the Pepper Club Hotel in Cape Town.

◾️Like many others, we were also shaken after the suicide of a fifteen-year-old Limpopo pupil made headlines. Lufuno Mavhunga took her own life after a video of her being bullied by fellow pupils circulated on social media. “Justice for Lufuno” has been trending, and one perpetrator has been arrested. 

◾️Internationally, we remember American rapper, songwriter and actor DMX, who died from a heart attack after days of being on life-support. 

◾️And, in another instance of police brutality and racism in the US, 20-year-old Daunte Wright was shot dead by police after he was stopped – allegedly because of air fresheners that hung from his rearview mirror. He was on the phone with his mother moments before, nervously saying he had been stopped by the police. Wright was killed in Minneapolis, the same place where George Floyd was killed by police last year. 😔

◾️Finally, condolences to the English monarchy on the passing of 99-year-old Prince Philip, consort and untiring supporter to Queen Elizabeth in her long reign.  

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 15 April 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.