Editor's note: Siya Kolisi has not only taken on the role of captain but also as role model and an icon for a generation as he follows in Madiba's footsteps to unite the country behind the green and gold. Briefly.co.za editor, Stefan Mack, takes a look at the new face of Springbok rugby.
It was poetic that Siya Kolisi walked down the same tunnel that Nelson Mandela did 23 years ago when he inspired a nation. Kolisi did the same on Saturday night as the country was firmly behind the green and gold.
The 23-year-old has taken the burden of captaincy with an air of humility and has not made too much fuss of it, hoping that there will be time to reflect on the historic moment after the three match tournament is over.
“I don’t want to think about it too much because I don’t want to place pressure on myself. After all three of these Tests – and hopefully we will win them all –then I will sit down and allow everything to sink in,” said Kolisi in Joburg on Friday.
Kolisi showed a maturity befitting his captaincy as he took his players through the paces during their training sessions leading up to the match. He continued to do so from when the whistle blew to start until the siren sounded the end of the match.
Kolisi's life story is nothing short of inspirational, coming from a life of poverty and adversity in the townships to rise to stardom and becoming an icon for a generation of young rugby players.
He has the opportunity now to follow in Mandela's footsteps to unite the country.
“People always ask me ‘what is your favourite field to play on’ and obviously when I play for my union it is Newlands but for the Springboks it is Ellis Park. When you are standing and looking at the crowd you see the whole of South Africa in front of you all different races and colours. It is really beautiful and one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen,” he explains.
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Briefly.co.za.
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