Springbok captain Siyamthanda (Siya) Kolisi has gone back to his roots to fight a new battle, helping feed those left destitute by the effects of the coronavirus.
Kolisi recently set up the Kolisi Foundation, along with wife Rachel. Initially the foundation started with the supply of sanitisers and masks for frontline medical workers. The Springbok Captain says the foundation is now helping feed the poor.
“A lot of people are going hungry, in fact there were a lot before the pandemic, but with people being cut from work without a job, they can’t even get the little bit they were used to have everyday,” says Kolisi.
Kolisi, who has been able to travel during the lockdown due to the essential work of his foundation, described some of his experiences.
“I thought I knew what struggle was until I went to Limpopo, seeing people without water, using water from the side of the road or that the animals are drinking from,” says Kolisi.
Through rugby, Kolisi says, he has been able to escape poverty and this weekend the Springbok captain will return to Zwide township, near Port Elizabeth, where he was raised.
“We are feeding over 1 200 people. We are doing 500 in my township, all the streets that I used to walk and all the people I used to go and ask for bread, now I am going to go and try and help out for the next couple of months,” says Kolisi.
Kolisi is part of a Pandemic Action Network, along with a number of other global figures in sport. The network advocates for resources to ensure countries are better prepared for the coronavirus pandemic.
“We can use our platforms to help as many people as we can, because this is a fight for humanity, it doesn’t matter where you are from,” says Kolisi.
Kolisi says a lot can be achieved through such platforms where entrepreneurs and athletes from different walks of life come together to make a difference.
One by One we are reaching vulnerable families through the work of the Kolisi Foundation, partnering with Imbumba Foundation, Anglo Gold, Old Mutual and @NelsonMandela Foundation. This past weekend we were able to distribute 500 essential food parcels to families in Zwide… (1) pic.twitter.com/j88P6X9omu
— Siya Kolisi (@SiyaKolisi_Bear) April 22, 2020
Six months ago Kolisi led South Africa to glory in the Rugby World Cup. That achievement shot the Boks captain to global fame and is now arguably South Africa’s most recognisable and admired sportsman.