Fatima Sydow, a South African celebrity chef who has indelibly made her mark in the culinary world and beyond, has sadly passed away at the age of 50.
Sydow’s family released an official statement on the afternoon of Tuesday, 19 December. The statement reads:
“It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Fatima Sydow, renowned culinary artist and beloved personality, who left an indelible mark on the culinary world.
Fatima, known for her exceptional culinary skills, infectious enthusiasm and warm personality, passed away peacefully in hospital, surrounded by her immediate family after battling soft tissue sarcoma for about three years.
Fatima’s journey in the culinary world touched the hearts of many when she inspired countless individuals with her passion for food and commitment to sharing her cultural heritage through her recipes. Her legacy is imprinted in the memories of those who had the privilege of knowing her and the millions who were touched by her work through various media channels including her Facebook Page and YouTube Channel.
As a family, we express our deepest gratitude for the outpouring of love and support during this challenging time.”
The statement encourages the celebration of Sydow’s life by honouring the remarkable legacy she leaves behind:
“We know that Fatima’s legacy, via her cookbooks, Facebook, YouTube Channel, spices and savouries will continue to inspire and bring joy to kitchens around the world. In her memory, we encourage everyone to celebrate her life by sharing a meal with loved ones and cherishing the moments spent together.”
Despite the battle with her health, Sydow always remained a beacon of positivity, bringing her warmth to the hearts, plates and bookshelves of South Africans with her culinary prowess. The Sydow family leaves a touching tribute to Fatima’s legacy as a beloved South African chef who embraced love, unity, and connection through the universal language of food:
“Fatima Sydow, a culinary luminary, was born on the 12th of November 1973 to Abduraghmaan and the late Waseela (nee Davids) Sydow on the Cape Flats in Cape Town, South Africa.
Her culinary odyssey commenced at the tender age of 9, standing alongside her mother, peeling potatoes, and cutting onions. Inspired by her mother’s ability to perform culinary miracles with few ingredients, creating dishes that generously fed many hungry stomachs, Fatima found the spark that would ignite her own culinary journey.
Renowned for her vivacious personality and unwavering commitment to preserving and sharing the Cape Malay heritage, Fatima rose to prominence through her Facebook page, initiated in 2011.
She was unapologetic about her background being from humble beginnings and continued to generously share herself with the community. Despite her ascent to culinary stardom, Fatima remained rooted in her origins, always embracing and celebrating the richness of her Cape Malay heritage.
Her journey was not just about cooking; it was a heartfelt narrative of love, unity, and connection through the universal language of food.
The culmination of her culinary journey resulted in the self-publication of her inaugural book, “The Journey of Cape Malay Cooking with Fatima Sydow,” in 2015. This book resonated widely with many readers, young and old, its appeal rooted in her easy-to-follow recipes that evoked cherished memories of growing up with Cape Malay Cuisine.
Her ascent continued with the television show “Kaap, Kerri, and Koesisters” on ViaTV, co-hosted with her twin sister, Gadija Sydow. Originally intended for one season, the show’s popularity led to an unprecedented six-season run, concluding in 2021. This success paved the way for her second book, “Cape, Curry, and Koesister,” published by NB Publishers in 2019, a compendium of beloved Cape Malay recipes contributed by both Fatima and Gadija.
In 2021, fuelled by boundless energy and enthusiasm, Fatima unveiled “Fatima Sydow Cooks,” her third book infusing a modern twist into cherished Cape Malay recipes. Amid the challenges of the Covid era, she ventured into the realm of YouTube, sharing her kitchen, expertise and infectious giggle. Her channel quickly garnered widespread acclaim, becoming a beacon of joy for viewers around the world.
In her final literary contribution, “Fatima Sydow Cape Malay Cooking – My Story, My Heritage,” published in 2023, she wished to leave a legacy of love, unity, and connection through the communal experience of food.
Additionally, beyond her television success and bestselling cookbooks, Fatima introduced a successful spice and Cape Malay savouries range, aimed at sharing her Cape Malay culture with others. This venture further showcased her commitment to making the flavors of her heritage accessible to a wider audience, adding another layer to her culinary legacy.
As we bid farewell to a culinary visionary, let us remember Fatima for her enduring impact on the culinary world and the lives she touched with her warmth and expertise.
May her legacy live on in the kitchens and hearts of those who continue to be inspired by her culinary artistry.”
Details regarding Fatima Sydow’s Janazah (funeral prayers) will be communicated by the Sydow family as soon as possible.
Woman&Home shares their condolences, thoughts and prayers with Fatima’s loved ones during this difficult time.
Feature Image: Instagram