Rugby star Siya Kolisi and his wife, Rachel, have become one of Mzansi’s favourite couples and their playful relationship has attracted the attention of South Africans on social media.
So much so that they have become South Africa’s very own version of Keeping Up with the Kardashian… without all the drama.
From poking fun at each other on Instagram to inspiring a nation, South Africans love keeping up with the Kolisis.
While it was Siya who led the country into victory in the 2019 Rugby World Cup, his missus has become a powerhouse in her own right.
Rachel is seen by many as a supportive wife and dedicated mother, but she is also a successful businesswoman who is advocating for body positivity amongst women in South Africa.
Siya and Rachel’s love story
Mr and Mrs Kolisi serve up major relationship goals on a regular basis. But it was not love at first sight. Rachel revealed in a Q&A with her Instagram followers that she “friend-zoned” Siya after they first met at a dinner party in Stellenbosch in 2012.
Siya knew he liked Rachel and apparently, he is a man who goes after what he wants. However, Rachel said things got “awkward” when the Springbok captain told her he liked her.
Writing on their wedding website, Siya said:
“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.”
Siya and Rachel are raising four children together: their biological children Nicolas and Keziah, as well as Siya’s siblings Liyema and Liphelo.
The couple tied the knot in August 2016, after Kolisi popped the question during a romantic helicopter ride over the Mother City. It is safe to say the couple was high on love.
But their love story was not all sunshine and roses. Every fairy tale needs an evil witch or stepmother who tries to keep the prince and princess apart. In the Kolisis’ story the villain wasn’t a person per say, but an outdated mindset that rears its ugly head so very often. Racism. Even after 27 years of democracy, there are those who are yet to see past skin colour; and the Kolisis know firsthand how mean people can be towards interracial couples.
In 2016, the beautiful mother of four shut down racist who made nasty remarks about their marriage. In a report by News24, Rachel was quoted saying:
“When I see stuff like that, I feel sorry for them. If that is what ruins your day when you wake up, out of all the things going on in the world, I feel bad for you.”
Siya and Rachel do not let the haters get them down and if their social media posts are anything to go by, their relationship is stronger than ever.
The couple often shares videos and photos, giving South Africans a glimpse into their lives. From Siya teaching Rachel some dance moves to sharing unflattering photos of one another, they really know how to keep things fun in their relationship.
Siya made the decision to move to the Sharks rugby team after years at the Stormers. However, he and Rachel decided not to root up their family. The dedicated mom and their four children will remain in Cape Town while Siya spends the year in Durban.
Taking to her Instagram account, Rachel wrote:
“We’ll be @siya_kolisi_the_bear and @sharksrugby number 1 supporters from Cape Town for the next 10 months.”
More than Mrs Kolisi
The country got to know Rachel as the wife of Siya Kolisi – the man who made history when he became the first black rugby captain to lead his team to victory in a world cup.
However, Rachel is more than the wife of a rugby hero. And although we admire how she shamelessly throws hand signs at referees when she does not agree with their decisions (yup, we’re talking about that viral RWC moment), we have to admit that she is a champion in her own right.
Rachel is not a ‘Wag’ or a trophy wife and she had to work hard to survive from her very first breath. In an interview with Good Housekeeping South Africa in 2020, Rachel revealed she did not breathe when she was born and ended up struggling with her health throughout her childhood.
Add her parents divorce, a near fatal bus accident and struggling in school and it is easy to see that Rachel did not have everything handed to her.
Her poor grades saw Rachel not going to university and she told her followers that she worked four or five jobs at once to make ends meet.
Clearly the 30-year-old has come a long way since the days she could only afford the R50 Stormers tickets to support her hubby.
In the past couple of years, Rachel became a business owner, humanitarian, Co-Founder of the Kolisi Foundation and Co-Founder of Rise. She’s making boss moves and Mzansi is here for it.
Caring for the less privileged
For years Rachel spearheaded projects to help those in need in South Africa. Her work as a humanitarian has laid the foundation for the work she and her husband do with their organization.
During the lockdown, the couple went the extra mile to help families survive the pandemic.
A family that prays together, stays together
Every couple has a foundation on which they build their relationship and for the Kolisis it is their faith in God. Both Siya and Rachel are vocal about their religion and she is a firm believer in the power of prayer.
Advocating body positivity
In a world that promotes an unrealistic view of what the female body should look like, women like Rachel are becoming more important.
Her makeup-free selfies, sweaty gym videos and muffin-top photos have given women in South Africa hope.
The mom of four often motivates other ladies on social media with her body positivity posts. Although Rachel advocates a healthy lifestyle, she pushes women to accept the bodies they are in, no matter the shape or size.
In an Instagram post during lockdown, Rachel wrote:
“Some lock down honesty. This is where I am currently. I went into lock down feeling like I could keep up with the training and eating well, but obviously that wasn’t the case.
“Recently a lady told me she put on so much weight in lock down she’s not going to visit friends until she looses the weight - that shook me.
“There’s so much pressure on women to have it altogether all the time with the unrealistic demands society places on us that’s close to impossible.
“Important to know this is what some people’s normal looks like - and I’m not ashamed. I’m irritated I didn’t have more discipline and maintain a good thing instead of having to start again.”
Most recently, Rachel posted a fresh face selfie to call out a company that told her to wear more makeup.
She wrote: “I recently pulled myself off a campaign because the brand requested ‘I have a more professional look and wear make-up’. I think girls who get up and spend time putting make up on are beautiful! I think girls who wake up and don’t put make up on are beautiful too! In a world where, a lot of people are trying to be something they’re not, be you. We need more of that.”
With over 290 000 followers on Instagram alone, Rachel surely has a big enough platform to inspire other women.
However, even though she appears confident and in control online, Rachel admitted that she’s an introvert.
The mommy said she struggles being in a crowded room, especially when all eyes are on her.
Do not touch her man
Although she builds up other women, Rachel is not going to let advances made towards her hubby slide. The no-nonsense wife has been accused online of being jealous.
After she outed a lady who slipped into Siya’s DMs, Rachel temporarily closed her social media account – and it wasn’t the first time the missus called out thirsty fans.
In 2018, Rachel slammed a Twitter user who called Siya a “whole type”. The businesswoman reminded the lady that “he’s not a type, he is married” with four kids.
Lorna Maseko also found herself on Rachel’s bad side after she ‘encouraged’ her friend to go on a date with Siya.
Rachel took to Twitter to call out the local celeb and ask South Africans to respect her marriage. A couple months later, an Instagram influencer got dragged after posting snap of herself with Siya, captioning it: “The Kolisi glow.”
The model came under fire from tweeps and Mrs Kolisi, but she defended herself and said she would not be bullied for being a fan.
It appears the ladies got the message and Rachel did not need to reprimand anyone online in a while.
In conclusion, many South Africans love Rachel – whether they know her as the supporting wife of Siya Kolisi or the confident and inspiring influencer on Instagram.
One social media user, kerensascott, said:
“Please keep being honest. You give us normal women hope.”
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