Siya Kolisi Biography

Siya Kolisi is a South professional rugby union player who was born on June 16, 1991, in Port Elizabeth. He is the squad captain and a member of the South African national team. He competes for Western Province in the Currie Cup and for Stormers in Super Rugby. Siya was chosen as the Springboks’ captain in 2018, despite the fact that he often plays the flanker position.

Being the first black man to hold the position of team captain as a result earned him the distinction and record. He led his squad, the SA rugby team, to victory at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, and he did not let anyone down. They fought and overcame England in their final game.

Where was Siya Kolisi born

Siyamthanda “Siya” Kolisi was born on June 16, 1991 in Port Elizabeth (PE), Eastern Cape, in Zwide Township. He was born in the midst of South Africa’s democratic transition, exactly 15 years after the Soweto Youth Uprisings and 16 months after Nelson Mandela’s release from prison.Kolisi was raised by his paternal grandmother and had a poverty-stricken upbringing. He had to sleep on a customized small bed built from bed cushions crushed together at the front door because the two-bedroom home she resided in was already inhabited by five people.

Kolisi had to deal with additional societal concerns in his early years as a young boy, such as substance misuse as an escape from his everyday reality, in addition to the terrible poverty and crushing boredom he had to deal with. Some of his buddies were caught up in this vicious circle.

Kolisi Rugby career

When Kolisi was just seven years old, he joined the local rugby team, African Bombers Rugby Club, at Emsengeni Primary School, where he also met his lifelong mentor Eric Songwiqi. Kolisi wouldn’t win a scholarship to one of the most prominent institutions in the nation, Grey Junior School in PE, until he was twelve years old, five years after joining African Bombers. He had to line up against Solly Tyibilika, another cult figure from PE and the first black African to score a Test try for the Springboks against Scotland in Murrayfield in 2004, on his African Bombers 1st XV debut as a raw 15-year-old. After that encounter, he was no longer easily frightened. All of this was made possible by Eric Songwiqi’s support, effort, and commitment to him.

When he first arrived at Grey Junior, he could not speak the English language. However, it was one of his classmates, Nicholas Holton, who helped him learn the language in exchange, Kolisi taught Nicholas isiXhosa. Kolisi didn’t start settling in intellectually till that point. Kolisi’s baby is named after Nicholas Holton, who later became one of his closest friends and served as best man at his wedding.

Kolisi’s high school rugby career didn’t truly take off until he was 16 years old, the same year that his mother passed away. He served as the Grey U16A rugby team’s captain in 2007 and was selected for the Eastern Province (EP) Grant Khomo team. He was a key contributor to the team’s success in the age group interprovincial tournament. His name would appear frequently in the Grey’s 1st XV, EP U18 Craven Week (also an interprovincial tournament), and the South African Schools teams over the course of the following two years.

Even though African Bombers and Grey had helped him develop into the rugby player he was at this point in his life, it was evident that there were still some rough edges after he arrived at the Western Province Rugby Institute in Stellenbosch in 2010. He mentioned that one was rugby tackling. “Township guys don’t like tackling…It’s not that we can’t, but we just don’t like it. I used to hate tackling at school. I came to Western Province, and I had to tackle every single day. And I started loving it, especially when I hit someone hard.”

Kolisi won the U19 ABSA Currie Cup in 2010 with Western Province thanks to his diligence and drive for success. He advanced to Western Province’s Vodacom Cup team the following year and the Junior Springboks (Baby Boks) team that finished fifth at the World Rugby U20 Championship (formerly known as the International Rugby Board Junior World Championship). Kolisi would have made his Stormers from Cape Town debut in the 2011 playoff match against the Crusaders if it weren’t for a late-night mugging following a friend’s birthday party.

Kolisi’s breakout season in professional rugby would come in 2012, when he made his debut for the Stormers, taking Schalk Burger’s place due to injury. He would go on to prove to be a priceless asset to the Stormers’ Super Rugby campaign that year, assisting Western Province in winning their first Currie Cup championship in 11 years, and it all culminated in him being called up to the Springboks for the year-ending European trip. Kolisi would eventually play his first Test match for the Springboks against Scotland at Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, in 2013. Under Coach Allister Coetzee, he has selected as the vice-captain of the Springboks in 2017. In what was one of the poorest seasons for the Springboks in recent memory, he emerged as one of the few standout players.

He succeeded Warren Whitely as the Springboks’ captain the following year under new coach Johan “Rassie” Erasmus. Kolisi was the first black player to captain the Springboks, making this a historic occasion in South African rugby. About 16 months later, he led the Springboks to their third Rugby World Cup title in Japan after defeating England 32-12 in the championship game. This would surely be the apex of his rugby career to that point. Kolisi and his team’s triumph at the 2019 Rugby World Cup was comparable to that of the class of 1995 under Francois Pienaar’s guidance. It served as a source of much-needed patriotism and solidarity that South Africa has so desperately needed over the past few years.

How Siya met Rachel

In 2012, Siya and Rachel first met at a dinner gathering in Stellenbosch. Despite their rapid friendship, Siya had always preferred Rachel. Eventually, he had the guts to ask her out, which he later remembered as being a terrifying experience. On the webpage for their wedding, he stated, “I knew I liked her and had to tell her.“It was scary. I asked her to lunch and that’s when I told her. She played hard to get in the beginning but eventually admitted it as well. The rest is history. We have a beautiful family and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with her.”

A large, blended family is raised by Siya and Rachel. Nicholas Siyamthanda, their first child, was born in 2015. Daughter Keziah, their second child, was born in 2017. Liyema and Liphelo, two little half-siblings of Siya, also reside with the family. Siya and his brothers all had a mother who tragically passed away in 2009. As a result, Liyema and Liphelo spent years moving between foster homes and orphanages before Siya and Rachel were able to adopt them in 2014. Rachel gave up her job as an event planner and marketing professional to focus solely on raising their four children because of Siya’s demanding schedule.

The pair got engaged while they were flying. During a helicopter flight over Cape Town, Siya proposed. On August 13, 2016, they were wed in a lovely ceremony in Franschhoek, with many South African athletes and other important guests in attendance, including Aisha Baker. They were followed as they made their way down the aisle by Top Billing.

Highs and lows

There have been issues in their relationship. The pair have endured a lot of racial harassment from the general public throughout the course of their long relationship. After women allegedly tried to meddle in her marriage, Rachel has also turned to social media. Upon hearing a woman describe Siya as being her type, Rachel tweeted,” Siya is not ‘a type’. He’s a married man responsible for four children. Just a side note. I’ve been there for all the good times. But I’ve also been there for ALL the bad times. Honestly, this should go without saying. Respect my relationship and woman to woman. Respect me.” She has also been outspoken about women who have tried to contact her husband over social media, such as a fitness model who sent explicit images to Siya via Instagram.

A national hero

Siya’s rugby path has brought him to heights he never dreamed possible, from his modest origins in the Zwide township outside of Port Elizabeth to representing his country at the Rugby World Cup. Siya was appointed as South Africa’s 61st captain in 2018 and the first black African to hold the position. The most recent occurrence was when he guided the Springboks to victory in the 2019 Rugby World Cup, bringing the trophy back to South Africa for the third time. His accomplishments will undoubtedly serve as an example for future South African athletes. Naturally, his family was there to support him along the journey.

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