Winning the World Cup again is a feat not to be glossed over in a short celebration. For me it symbolizes so much. A nation challenged by political upheaval and billions of damages, a nation challenged by the paralysis of corruption, relentless floods, a nation bathed and, in some places, broken by Covid, then by load- shedding. It would be easy to just feel power-less. Literally. And yet this brave team of Springbok warriors led by a captain who truly understands leadership – a man who remains such a humble symbol of overcoming all odds – rose against – all odds. He rose with his team that we might rise too. The invisible hand of a legendary Coach not lead by ego but by brilliance and discernment, “Rassie” united not just a remarkable indomitable team, but a nation desperate for some hope. The rollercoaster ride of the World Cup represents the rollercoaster ride we have walked in the past five years, in particular. A nation clawing its way back up, one small moment at a time. Only to be beset by another challenge. And through it all, we live in humour. Humour of the different sides because that’s who we are.
We have learnt to laugh at ourselves because everything else is rising, prices are rising. But so is the leadership in this country. I see it so often, the untold stories of courage and contribution. The untold stories of hope and of healing.
Our humour helps us. It does not diminish or lessen our challenges. It makes us human. We laugh and we cry together. Despite the pain of so many missed opportunities. Despite everything, we continue to overcome. A small embattled nation on the tip of Africa won The World Cup. Against all odds. In the face of so many challenges.
And so today, when I felt like retreating back into invisibility, to retreat off the radar, to lead a quiet life of reflection, to stay hidden from scrutiny or from judgement, something inside of me said, “Rise”.
Because others rose for you.
* Step into leadership no matter how insignificant you might feel.
* Envision with the discipline, agility and consistency of athletic prowess.
Because we are called to make a difference in this challenged land. To champion change.
Siya's rise from humble beginnings to lifting that World Cup trophy is the stuff of fairytales.’ MARCUS RASHFORD ‘Siya Kolisi is a warrior on the field and an inspiration off it. This book is an extraordinary reminder of what can be achieved with inner belief and an indefatigable spirit.’ JAY SHETTY 'Siya's story is well documented, and I am so impressed by the way he conducts himself. As the captain of his team and as a statesman he is measured and thoughtful. He is a leader in every way. An inspiration to a dynamic South African nation.' EDDIE JONES ‘Few people embody the tenacity of what the New South Africa stands for, like Siya does. His story mirrors the nations’; in its trials and tribulations and also in it’s triumph against all odds. This is a real life heroes journey.’ TREVOR NOAH ‘There is no doubt Siya has made a significant impact on World rugby, especially within South African rugby. [He] is passionate about changing people's lives for the better and uses his position and status to do that.’ MARO ITOJE ‘Brilliant’ THE TIMES ‘Moving’ THE GUARDIAN His truth. His story. In his words. There have been many comments made and books written about Siya Kolisi, captain of the Springboks, and the first black man to lead his country in over 128 years of South African rugby. But now, for the very first time, Siya Kolisi shares his story in an extraordinarily intimate memoir, charting his journey from being born into the impoverished Zwide township, to leading his proud nation to an astonishing victory at the Rugby World Cup in 2019. However, Rise is not simply a chronology of matches played and games won; it is an exploration of a man’s race and his faith, a masterclass in attaining a positive mindset, and an inspirational reminder that it is possible to defy the odds, no matter how they are stacked against you. In 2020, partly in response to the pandemic, Siya and his wife, Rachel, launched The Kolisi Foundation, providing personal protective equipment to healthcare workers and delivering food parcels throughout South Africa. The title Rise is inspired by Siya’s mother – Phakama – which translates to the book’s name, as well as a celebration of his Xhosa heritage.