Growing up disadvantaged in the township of Zwide in the Eastern Cape, becoming an international rugby star was the furthest thing from DHL Stormers captain Siya Kolisi’s mind.
He was introduced to the sport by the men in his life and before he knew it, he fell in love with it – rushing straight home after school to change uniforms for rugby training. Quickly becoming a lifeline for him, Siya’s love for rugby kept him away from bad elements as his friends started experimenting with substances.
Don’t be afraid to be the light amongst your friends, don’t be scared to go the different route and show your friends the different route.— Siya Kolisi - Stormers Captain
With very little to look forward to in the township, Siya kept himself occupied by playing against other schools until opportunity came knocking one day. Although his team lost, the turning point in his life came when a coach approached him with a once in a lifetime opportunity to attend the prestigious Grey College.
When I got to Grey… I started dreaming differently, I started believing I could make it.— Siya Kolisi - Stormers Captain
Struggling to adjust and unable to speak English, Siya had to learn the hard way. At 15 years old, he decided to commit to rugby and quickly rose through the ranks at Grey.
Always try and use whatever struggle you have to motivate you to get out of it. To be somebody.— Siya Kolisi - Stormers Captain
Today, Siya embraces the pressures that comes with fame by motivating young kids to follow their dreams and rise above their circumstances, just like he did. Whilst he’s not occupied with rugby, Siya invests his time in his premium men’s underwear range – Frankees, in conjunction with Jockey.
Asked what success meant to him, Siya says: “I will determine my success when I am finished by how many people I have helped.”
Listen to Siya in conversation with Charlotte Kilbane in this week’s Face to Face With Success, brought to you by Nashua.