Siya Kolisi, born on 16 June 1991 in Zwide, a township in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, has become an inspirational figure in the world of rugby. His journey from humble beginnings to captaining the South African national team to World Cup glory in 2019 has made him a symbol of hope and perseverance.
Kolisi's early years were challenging, growing up in a township with limited resources. His mother, Phakama, gave birth to him at the age of 17, and his father, Fezakele, was completing his final year of school. Tragically, his mother passed away when he was 15, leaving his late grandmother, Nolulamile, to raise him.
In his youth, Kolisi found joy in simple things, and his favorite toy was a brick. While other children played with toy cars, he would happily push his brick around the streets of Zwide. Despite his difficult circumstances, Kolisi's talent in rugby began to emerge.
At the age of 12, Kolisi caught the attention of scouts at a youth tournament in Mossel Bay, and he was offered a scholarship at Grey Junior in Port Elizabeth. This opportunity led to a rugby scholarship at the prestigious Grey High School, where he continued to develop his skills. He also represented the Eastern Province Kings in youth competitions such as the Under-16 Grant Khomo week and the Under-18 Craven Week, showcasing his potential.
Kolisi's rise through the ranks continued as he joined the Western Province Rugby Institute after school. He made his debut for Western Province in 2011 and earned his first cap for the Stormers in 2012, making an immediate impact by scoring a try in his debut match.
In 2013, on his 22nd birthday, Kolisi made his debut for the South African national team, becoming Springbok #851. He quickly established himself as a valuable player, earning 76 caps for the Stormers and captaining the team in 2017. In 2018, he reached a milestone by earning his 100th Super Rugby cap.
Kolisi's leadership qualities and exceptional performances caught the attention of Rassie Erasmus, who appointed him as the Springbok captain for the three-match test series against England in May 2018. This appointment made him the first black captain of the South African national team.
The pinnacle of Kolisi's career came in 2019 when he led the Springboks to victory in the Rugby World Cup, becoming the third Springbok captain to lift the Webb Ellis Cup. The team's triumph in the final against England made history, with Kolisi being the first black captain of a World Cup-winning side.
Off the field, Kolisi has shown his dedication to making a positive impact. He founded the Kolisi Foundation in 2020, which, along with his Stormers teammates, played a significant role in providing relief to vulnerable communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
After an 11-year journey with Western Province Rugby, Kolisi decided not to extend his contract and, in February 2021, signed a multi-year deal with the Sharks. At the time of his signing, he had 50 test caps to his name and had captained his country 20 times.
Siya Kolisi's remarkable journey from a township in Port Elizabeth to becoming a World Cup-winning captain has inspired people around the world. His leadership, resilience, and dedication to making a difference both on and off the field have made him a role model for aspiring rugby players and individuals striving to overcome adversity.
Ahead of the Rugby World Cup 2023, Kolisi has been named in the squad for South Africa.
|2012 - present
|Grey High School (PE)
|2023 - present
|Eastern Province Kings
|2007 - 2009
|South Africa U20's
|2010 - 2011
|2018 - 2018
|2012 - 2021
|2011 - 2021
|2021 - 2023
|2020 - 2024
|2021 - 2024
|South Africa A
|2021 - 2024