Sunday, June 10, 2018

Rising From Poverty To The Pinnacle Of Sport


Siya Kolisi, Rachel Kolisi and family have some big news to share about love and sport! .  
Siya Kolisi as a small boy surviving in the township of Zwide near Port Elizabeth on South Africa’s east coast, he ate irregularly. His grandmother and young mother were unable to put food on the table every day. It was proper, aching hunger, something no child in the 21st century should have to experience. Kolisi’s mother, Phakama, was 16 when Siya was born; his father, Fezakele, was in his final year of school. After giving birth to two more children from another relationship, Phakama died when Kolisi was 15 leaving his late grandmother, Nolulamile, to raise him.

"Times were tough when I was little and often there wasn’t food. I would go to bed on empty stomach," Kolisi says. "Sometimes we didn’t have enough money to pay my primary school fees, which were only R50 (£3) a year".

New Dawn For South Africa 



madiba
Nelson Mandela and Captain Francois Pienaar in momentous joy after South African National Rugby team "Springbok" won Rugby World Cup 1995.

Kolisi is a proud Xhosa man with a smile as dazzling as his tackling and brutal touch. Kolisi has became a first black captain to lead the Springboks in a Test series opener against England. There will be a certain serendipity in seeing Siya Kolisi wearing the same No 6 jersey that the former president Nelson Mandela so famously donned at the 1995 World Cup final.

Madiba’s appearance at Ellis Park some 23 years ago,that blessed Springbok and christinized captain Francois Pienaar’s jerseys number 6, as national emblem sought to unit divided nations together. In fact Kolisi’s elevation to one of the most important jobs in South African sport fraternity has similarly given rugby a boost at a time when the Springboks embark on a new phase of literally changing the face of the national team. When Nelson Mandela wore the number six jersey, the one that Siya will be wearing in the first Test against England. Hopefully, it inspires and gives hope to South Africans to overcome a lot of adversity that they experienced and  facing in contemporary settings.

By 2019, coach Rassie Erasmus is expected to pick a team that has at least a 50% black player representation. Starting with a black captain, whose appointment is justified both as a player and a leader, is an emphatic statement from the coach that transformation will be taken seriously on his watch.

Kolisi, a muscular man with 26-years age and open side flanker is going to drive that transformation from within because in many ways he is the inspirational symbol of post-apartheid South African. Indeed a humble man who rising from poverty to the pinnacle of a sport that was embodiment by white minority dictations.  Kolisi broke the apartheid bond in proving that human live for one another, he married a beautiful white woman Rachel Smith and is a loving dad to two mixed-race children. Rachel she is the main driving machine behind Kolisi success.  
I’m pretty strict with the kids and he’s the good guy, always spoiling and letting things slide. He’s very good at organising time away when it’s just him and me. We also try to have a date night once a week or every two weeks
This is a rainbow nations that have dreamed up by the predecessors and leader like Papa Nelson Mandela who foreseeing the multiculturalism and colorful South African societies. Madiba has a vision that all antisocial elements time by time will die out and live upon a united communities. 
Boks, South African Rugby team have chance for improvement under Siya Kolisi' Captainship.  
Over some two decades and half ago, no black man had been entrusted with the ultimate honour in South African sport; to lead the Springboks into battle in a Test match.“I don’t shy away from where I have come from and I’m aware that my story is a typical South African story in some ways. It’s my motivation," Kolisi says. "I’m not only trying to inspire black kids but people from all races. When I’m on the field and I look into the crowd, and I see people of all races and social classes. We as players represent the whole country. "I tell my team-mates that you should never play just to represent one group. You can’t play to be the best black player or to be the best white player to appeal to a community; you have to play to be the best for every South African. We represent something much bigger than we can imagine."

Kolisi was spotted at an under-12 tournament in Zwide, the life-changing moment, to be offered a rugby scholarship to the prestigious Grey High School in Port Elizabeth, which produced cricket legend like Graeme Pollock, and Mike Catt England’s 2003 World Cup winner. There was a language barrier. "I struggled with my academic work and I was scared to speak as a result," Kolisi admits. "I would say one or two words in English and complete a sentence in Xhosa. But the guys were accepting and Nick Holton, who became a good friend, knew some Xhosa. So he helped me speak English and I helped him with his Xhosa. I knew him from rugby trials and we have been friends ever since.” Being on a sports scholarship might seem like a dream. The school expected Kolisi to put Grey rugby above all else, but he still yearned to play for a local Zwide amateur rugby club called African Bombers.
It is why figures such as Bryan Habana - a Springbok great, himself of mixed race - believe Siya Kolisi's appointment as captain for the forthcoming series against England, as a watershed development for not just South African rugby, but the country as a whole. "It's a monumental moment for South African rugby, and a moment in South African history," Habana, a World Cup winner in 2007, told the BBC's Rugby Union Weekly podcast.
"From where Siya has come from, it's a humble beginnings, and have worked unbelievably hard to get to this moment - it's absolutely fantastic. I couldn't be more proud. I texted him last week and told him how important this is." "So many people in this country come from a similar background, and he has been able to break the shackles of poverty to get to where he is," said Vata Ngobeni, a journalist and SABC rugby analyst who knows Kolisi well. "It is extremely inspiring, and one that means more than just him becoming Springbok captain. I don't think a lot of black people thought in their lifetime they would see a black Springbok captain. It brings back the dignity of black South Africans who have been involved in rugby for a very long time."  "Rugby in this country is bigger than a game and being the national captain is bigger than deciding who should kick for touch. His position as a public figure going forward is massive and a huge game changer for the sport and for our country."
Racial tensions in South African sport, and society, still pervade, but Habana is among those to hope that Kolisi's ascension to the Springbok captaincy will prove to be groundbreaking. "What Siya has been able to do both on and off the field, is show himself as a true South African. He is an inspiration, not just for black people - he overcomes quite a few racial boundaries." Ngobeni agrees that Kolisi is a man who truly represents the rainbow nation. "He is married to a white South African, they have coloured kids [the South African term for mixed race] it is a true South African story and what a lot of South Africans would love to strive for going forward," he said.



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