Siya KolisiCo-Founder at The Kolisi Foundation
Siya Kolisi, known as the People’s Captain, cofounded The Kolisi Foundation in March 2020. As the country faced the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Siya and Rachel Kolisi recognized the threat this crisis posed to many in South Africa’s most vulnerable communities. They could not stand by and do nothing and so launched The Kolisi Foundation to respond to these challenges.
Siya comes from humble beginnings and is a hero to many. In 2018, he made history as the first black test player in its 129 year history to be appointed captain of the South African Springbok rugby team. South Africa was unified in pride when, in November 2019, Siya led his team to Rugby World Cup victory, returning South Africa to the top of the world rankings for the first time in 10 years. Siya dedicated the World Cup victory to all South Africans, saying “(We) can achieve anything when we work together as one”.
The impact The Kolisi Foundation has had in the few short months since its inception, is testament to that motto. The Foundation has provided sustainable food parcels to more than 25,000 families and provided hygiene products to front-line health workers nationally, in partnership with The Nelson Mandela Foundation.
Today Siya stands not only as a Rugby World Cup champion, but his list of accolades includes BBC ‘Sports Star of the Year’ nominee, 2019 ‘Peace and Sports Awards Champion of the Year’, Rugby World ‘Most Influential Person in Rugby in 2019’, and one of New African’s ‘Most Influential Africans’.
In July 2020, Siya was announced as a UN Global Advocate for the Spotlight Initiative. This is a global partnership between the United Nations and the European Union, to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls by 2030. Siya lends his time and influence to this critical cause, calling on men and boys to take responsibility and to become part of the solution to ending violence against women and girls globally.
Siya lives in Cape Town with his wife, Rachel, and their four children. When on the field he wears the iconic number 6 Springbok jersey, worn by South Africa’s first black president, Mr Nelson Mandela, in 1995. Off the field, he seeks to embody Madiba’s vision and philosophy and is committed to “Remembering the one, one by one”.