Siya Kolisi is using his commercial venture to help disadvantaged youngsters
Springbok captain helping to build sports field for underserved community.
Siya Kolisi is already adored by scores of South Africans from different walks of life for his contribution to the Springboks momentous victory in last year's Rugby World Cup final.
It seems as if this relationship between Kolisi and the nation is reciprocal as the country’s golden boy is now using his new commercial venture to help youngsters from impoverished communities.
The captain of the national rugby team recently announced his five-year partnership with lifestyle brand Freedom Of Movement (FOM), a deal negotiated through Roc Nation Sports.
As a partner, Kolisi will play a hands-on role which will allow for his involvement and input across all areas of the business.
While this includes creative design and product development,he will also have a say on the social initiatives and together with FOM, has decided that the proceeds from this partnership will be donated to development of the Mbekweni sports field located in the Western Cape.
“It is a partnership I am very passionate about, and it was important to me that I wasn't just seen as a face but a voice around the table when it came to decision-making,” Kolisi told The Saturday Star this week.
The circumstances of those in this underserved Western Cape region is familiar territory for South Africa’s first black national rugby team captain who went from living in Zwide, a township in the Eastern Cape, to lifting the Webb Ellis Trophy by beating England in Yokohama, Japan last November.
He has previously been vocal about the challenges of growing up in poverty and was just four years old when former president Nelson Mandela and Francois Pienaar united the newly democratic South Africa through rugby with the Springboks world cup win in 1995.
While Kolisi is proud of his achievements on the rugby field, he is cognisant of his elevated international status and how he can use it to help other youngsters who are now struggling through similar challenges that he faced when he was a child.
“I have a platform to speak to our customers and the wider community within South Africa and beyond, and to bring exposure to projects such as Mbekweni, which the FOM customers contributed to - it's important to demonstrate the difference they have made with a single purchase,” he explained.
“From my own upbringing and opportunities that were available to me as a child, I can play a role in guiding where donations are best placed, advising on the best resources to guarantee the most impact in less privileged areas of the country.”
The World Cup winning captain has personally visited the Mbekweni sports field ahead of this venture and discovered that while they could do with some assistance, many community members are already doing all they can to empower the youth in the disadvantaged area.
“I had visited Mbekweni previously to see first-hand how they were not only supporting their children with learning but the wider community and family members in particular.”
“The children showed me the pitch in its previous state and it was a great opportunity for us to make a difference, supporting their ambition to teach key life lessons through sport with much better facilities, further reinforcing the importance of training the body and mind for success.”
Kolisi was also adamant that he wanted to make a worthy contribution through the sporting sphere as it is a language many youngsters understand.
“Sport instils discipline and the notion of togetherness and also has the ability to bring people together.”
“You step on the playing field and it's an equal playing field because sport is the most common language we speak.”
He added that he is also proud to be associated with FOM, which produces quality handcrafted leather products and accessories, as the pair had previously done great work for the community at large together.
“It was a natural fit for me to get more involved with the successful lifestyle brand that Freedom Of Movement has grown into.”’
“We launched the Mbekweni project in 2019 where we committed to donating part of the proceeds from the Field Green Vellie shoe, to the rebuilding of the rugby field in this underprivileged community in Paarl and this lead to thinking broader of how we can work together to make a bigger impact in South Africa,” Kolisi explained.
These sentiments were shared by FOM co-founder Roal Boezaart who added that their ambitions are also to help all those they can.
“Through our friendship (with Kolisi) and our mutual passion for design and South Africa we have established this partnership to create a platform for fellow South Africans to give back and do good in South Africa.”