Siya Kolisi’s astonishing journey, from the dusty streets of Zwide to being the first black player to captain the Springbok rugby team, has been voted Laureus Sporting Moment of the Month for July.
Kolisi’s story of overcoming adversity and succeeding against the odds gripped the imagination of a global audience of sports lovers, who vote each month for sporting moments that symbolise the true values of sport and bring to life the message that sport has the power to change the world.
The monthly winners compete against each other in the Laureus Sporting Moment of the Year public vote, with the eventual winner announced at the 2019 Laureus World Sports Awards in Monaco.
Kolisi’s nomination, entitled “Uniting the Rainbow Nation”, tracked his rise from the poverty-stricken township of Zwide, near Port Elizabeth, where he often went to bed hungry as his young mother and grandmother struggled to put food on the table.
On Saturday 9 June, he made history when he led the Springboks out at Ellis Park in a Test match against England. It was a remarkable moment for the Springboks and the entire nation – and it was made all the more special by the fact that he was wearing the Number 6 jersey famously worn by former President Nelson Mandela at the same venue during the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
As it happened, the Springboks won the match 42-39 after an incredible comeback. But the lingering memories will be of Kolisi’s history-making moment, and what it means to a nation crying out for unity and healing.
“I’m truly humbled to have been nominated for a Laureus award… and to then actually win the Laureus Sporting Moment of the Month for July, it was a real moment of pride for me” said Kolisi.
“Thank you to the public, my friends and family for their votes, and also to the adidas family for rallying behind me including fellow athletes Wayde (van Niekerk) and Kagiso (Rabada). I hope to continue doing the brand proud come the 2019 Laureus Awards Ceremony, but also, and importantly, on the field of play in the coming months.”