Johannesburg – “This is why I am here. That is my purpose,” was Siya Kolisi’s reply, regarding his role in uplifting the people of South Africa as Springbok captain, during a sweeping CBS 60 Minutes feature, televised this past weekend.
America’s oldest, most-watched and arguably most prestigious news magazine TV show followed the Bok skipper during the recent three-match Test series against Wales; and in a frank interview posed questions to the 31-year-old regarding transformation within the sport, his early life in Zwide in the Eastern Cape, his early playing days at Grey College, and how he remains mentally fit.
“I didn’t have toys, I couldn’t afford them,” said Kolisi of his childhood to Jon Wertheim.
“What did I do?
“I found a brick and that was my car. I loved that brick with everything I had … That is all I had.
“How can we use this opportunity not just to help us, but to help others around us, in our country?” Siya Kolisi tells @jon_wertheim about using sporting glory to enrich South Africa. https://t.co/mVBR6y2kg0 pic.twitter.com/Rr43DcH27O
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) October 3, 2022
Kolisi also revealed the importance of discovering rugby and playing for African Bombers at the Dan Qeqe Stadium in his youth before being scouted and offered a scholarship to play for Grey High School in Gqeberha.
“This place,” Kolisi said of Dan Qeqe Satdium, “if it wasn’t around, if there wasn’t a team, if there wasn’t sport, and the community, I don’t know where I would have ended up … It inspired me and it taught me who I am.”
The feature goes on further to explore Kolisi’s marriage to Rachel, his family life, and the foundation the couple manage; while also tapping into the considerable rugby knowledge of Francois Pienaar and Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira.
But perhaps the most enlightening conversation during the program, was Kolisi’s honest assessment of mental illness.
Said Kolisi of that particular struggle: “My head got big at times.
“I spent the money on sports cars, drinking every weekend, spending the money with friends and just getting involved in things I would never be proud of. I want to be better and I want to learn.
“I go to therapy and I get to talk to someone. It helps me heal, it helps me be better.
“If you’re sick, maybe emotionally or mentally, therapy is your medication.
“I want to be the generation of black man that is there for his children, that are telling their women that they love them – not just by words but with actions, too.”
Kolisi is currently enjoying some time off from rugby and has been spotted in England rubbing shoulders with Liverpool football club managers and players. The Boks will return to camp soon, however, as they prepare for a mammoth End-of-Year tour against Ireland, France, Italy and England.