A hungry 16 year old kid
sat in the corner of a poor South African townsland pub watching SA beat England in the final of the Rugby World Cup, Paris 2007. Wide-eyed and hungry that kid’s name was Siya Kolisi. This Saturday, Kolisi, leads the South African team onto the pitch in the 2019 RWC Final v England in Yokohama Stadium, Japan. SA’s first black captain carries the hopes and dreams of the whole of the ‘rainbow nation’.
Siya’s Mother Was 16
Kolisi’s mother, Phakama, was 16 when Siya was born and his father, Fezakele, was in his final year of school. Both were teenagers. Phakama sadly died when Siya was at the tender age of 15, leaving his grandmother, Nolulamile, to raise him. Phakama died shortly afterwards.
Hunger Makes You Do Things
“It’s tough to stay on the right path because sometimes hunger makes you do things that you never thought you would do” says Siya. Sport was “my way out”. He played on a dirt pitch with just his jockey shorts (that’s all he had) and was spotted and taken to his local club, African Bombers.
SA’s First Black Captain
A few years later, former Munster Coach, Rassie Erasmus (now SA coach) picked Springbok’s first black captain in May 2016 appointed Kolisi as the Springboks’ first black captain in its 126-year history. On Saturday’s colossal captain Kolisi wins his 50th Test cap.
Captain Colossal Kolisi married Rachel Smith, a former marketing executive, in 2016. They have two children from their inter-racial marriage, and since 2014, his half-siblings (children of his late mother), became part of the Kolisi household, (after five years in orphanages and foster care in nearby Port Elizabeth).
“He looks after the poorest communities and clubs in Zwide. He is playing a vital role to change the lives of youngsters and players” says his primary school trainer, Eric Songwiqi (who brought him up to the local club, African Bombers). Kolisi’s roots remain in Zwide. Hefrequently revisits and has ploughed back into the community, and the school where he played rugby. He is not looking after himself alone” says Mr Songwigi.
Kolisi’s Rainbow Nation
“We have many different races in our country, and we have 11 official languages. It’s one of the positives in our country; it’s really beautiful and that’s why we’re called the Rainbow Nation. We have different races in the team as well, which is really beautiful, and I think it’s very important for the country for us to do well, and for us as a team” says Siya Kolisi.
It Would Change The Trajectory Of Our Country
The 2007 Rugby World Cup winning South African captain, John Smit says “It was iconic when Francois lifted the World Cup with Madiba (Mandela) 1995, and it was amazing to be able to do it myself with Thabo, but if Siya touches that trophy on Saturday… I tell you, it will be a far greater moment than 1995. Far greater. It would change the trajectory of our country.” Wow, powerful words from one hero captain about a new hero captain – whether they win, lose or draw in the Land Of The Rising Sun, this Saturday.
We can achieve all our dreams
“It just shows that when we decide to work together for one goal as a team or a country we can make anything happen. We can achieve all our dreams or goals. That’s why we want to give our best this week and hopefully do the same in the final.” says Colossal Captain Kolisi, a real South African hero.
Visit Siya’s Instagram page siya_kolisi_the_bear
He Taught Us How To Forgive ………… Nelson Mandela 1918 – 2013