Nombulelo Dassie honours Dr Sindi van Zyl with a beautiful portrait


When Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl died on April 10 this year, many people were left heartbroken.

She passed on seven days after her 45th birthday due to Covid-related illnesses.

I think it was 2019 when I first met her. By that time, we were already following each other on Twitter.

We were both attending a fashion show in Sandton, and when I offered her a front-row ticket, she was beyond happy because her favourite designer was showcasing that night.

On Thursday morning while going through Twitter as per my daily routine, I stumbled across a beautiful portrait of the late people’s doctor.

Nombulelo Dassie (30), a visual artist from George, had posted pictures of the portrait with hopes that someone would help her to get it delivered to Dr Sindi’s family.

Like many people on Twitter who were fond of the, “people’s doctor”, who used to help those without access to medical care, Dassie never knew Dr Sindi personally, but she loved her and wanted to honour her.

A portrait of Dr Sindi van Zyl. Picture: Supplied.

“I didn't know the late Dr Sindi personally, but I knew her from Twitter as she would always pop up on my timeline.

“She was someone I got to love. When the news of her passing broke, I was devastated and heartbroken.

“It was so weird to have felt so many emotions for someone I've never met. I'm guessing it must have been the Dr Sindi magic.

“Being a visual artist, I thought what better way to express myself than to do a portrait of her.

“To celebrate her life and what she stood for. She made such an impact in people's lives.

“I thought making a portrait of her is the least I can do for her. I created the portrait for people to never forget her and mainly for her family to find comfort in knowing that she'll always be with them,” Dassie said.

Dassie, who has practised art for more than ten years, says she wants to touch people’s lives with her artistry.

When Noxolo Grootboom stepped out as a news anchor, she also did a portrait in her honour.

Noxolo Grootboom by Nombulelo Dassie. Picture: Supplied

The former SABC news anchor was ins awe when she received the portrait. She sent Dassie a video, thanking her for such a gesture.

She said: “Lelo ndifuna wazi ukuba uMaMfene, u Mam’Nox usamkele isiphi sakho ngalantliziyo osizobe ngayo. Wathi usawugqiba wandinika sona oku konduku yoku’nquma. Thank you very much, my baby, I love you so much.”

Which can be loosely translated to “Lelo, I want you to know that I, MaMfene, Nox, accept your gift wholeheartedly.”

It took Dassie about two weeks to finish the charcoal portrait of Dr Sindi. Here’s more of her best works.

Steve Biko by Nombulelo Dassie. Picture: Supplied.
Master KG by Nombulelo Dassie. Picture: Supplied.

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