‘Rise: The Siya Kolisi story’ wins the Peace and Sport documentary prize at the Sportel awards

FILE - Springbok captain Siya Kolisi. Photo: Franck Fife/AFP

FILE - Springbok captain Siya Kolisi. Photo: Franck Fife/AFP

Published Oct 23, 2023


As a leading advocate for social upliftment, Peace and Sport is delighted to announce that the documentary ‘Rise: The Siya Kolisi Story’ — produced by Orange Films and Star Films production companies — has been awarded a prestigious Sportel Award.

This accolade recognises the achievements of the inspirational documentary, which unpacks the extraordinary journey of Siya Kolisi, a symbol of hope, resilience, and unity.

‘Rise: The Siya Kolisi Story’ sheds light on the story of South Africa's first black African rugby captain, who against all odds led the Springboks to victory at the 2019 World Cup, and in turn united a country.

The 32-year-old vulnerably reflects on the various challenges he has tackled on his journey from humble beginnings to rugby stardom, while proceeds from ‘Rise: The Siya Kolisi Story’ are channeled back to under-resourced communities through the Kolisi Foundation, a charity founded by Siya and his wife Rachel. The Foundation has a vision to change the narratives of inequality in the areas of food insecurity, gender-based violence, and sports and education.

In winning the Sportel award, it illustrates Peace and Sport's mission to leverage the importance of athletes as role models in our society, and to mentor them in their social commitment.

Kolisi, a “Champion for Peace”, said the Peace and Sport award served as another proud accolade for his documentary - which received the audience award at the iconic Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year.

“I wanted to authentically show viewers what the township looks like and how more people need to come and invest in these areas. For me, some of my best memories are from the township, and it’s the people in my community who motivate me every day.

“I now have the platform to hopefully be able to change the stories of those kids growing up in similar circumstances, but at the same time the biggest thing for me is to change the mindset while they’re still living in tough conditions.”

This latest announcement was welcomed by Mahlatse Mashua, who is a board member of The Kolisi Foundation, and the South African MD for Roc Nation Sports International, the renowned agency that represents the Bok captain.

"Rise is an inspiring story, yet it doesn't stand as a monument, but rather a signpost. It beckons each of us, challenging our perspectives and urging us to play our part. In a short but vivid way, it reveals the true face of our unsavoury social narratives, while simultaneously highlighting the power of community in paving pathways to success for individuals like Siya.

"Siya himself extends an invitation: to embody the spirit of ubuntu. He encourages us not merely to admire his journey through adversity, but to actively participate in the lives of others, ensuring that his isn't the only success story."