Rags to riches South African captain inspires world with powerful post match interview 2 weeks ago

Rags to riches South African captain inspires world with powerful post match interview

For Siya Kolisi, this was once an outlandish dream.

Growing up in the impoverished town of Zwide, life wasn't about living, it was about surviving.

But as he practiced his skills with a brick that would become his favourite toy, at least he could imagine. Now, his faraway dreams have become a reality. He's the unexpected hero to millions of South Africans, their first ever black captain and both an inspiration and a beacon of hope to those who are struggling all over the world.

The fearsome English back row is nothing compared to the challenges this man has overcome.

Kolisi's mother was just 16 years of age when he was born, and his father was still in school. Luxuries were few, money was hard to come by and this youngster regularly went to sleep hungry.

His childhood would get tougher. His mother passed away when he was only 16 years of age and Kolisi was raised from then on, by his grandmother.

A disadvantaged beginning, but this fella was prepared to fight.

He eventually got his break in South African club rugby and ever since his South African debut in 2013, the flanker has become one of his country's most important and influential players.

Saturday morning was his date with destiny. Before Saturday, his dad had never left his home country but the skipper flew him out to the International Stadium in Yokohama for the big day.

They've come a long way.

Kolisi sang the national anthem with his eyes closed and with tears streaming down his face. Passion isn't the word. From then on, he'd mill England's vaunted crew out of the way through sheer determination and afterwards he gave an interview that inspired the world.

“I was grateful for everything the team has been through. We faced a lot of challenges, but you know, the people of South Africa have got behind us and we are so grateful to the people of South Africa,” he said on eir Sport.

“We have so many problems in our country, but to have a team like this… You know, we come from different backgrounds, different races, and we came together with one goal, and we wanted to achieve it. I really hope that we have done that for South Africa, to show that we can pull together if we want and achieve something.” 

“Since I have been alive, I have never seen South Africa like this. Obviously in 1995, what the World Cup did for us, and now with all the challenges we have, the coach just came and told us we are not playing for ourselves anymore, we are playing for our people back home.

“That’s what we wanted to do today. We really appreciate all the support. People in the taverns, people in the shebeens, people in farms, [for] homeless people there were screens there, and people in rural areas, thank you so much. We appreciate all the support, we love you South Africa, and we can achieve anything if we work together as one."

Spoken from the heart.