Last week, work started in one of South Africa’s poorest communities building a new rugby field for children to play on at Mbekweni Youth Centre in Paarl using proceeds from the sales of Siya Kolisi’s field-green signature veldskoene.
On its own, the field might not feel very significant but for South Africa’s first black rugby captain, Siya Kolisi, it’s the start of something.
His motivation comes from his own remarkable story where he grew up in one of the most deprived parts of Port Elizabeth, raised by his grandmother who cleaned kitchens to ensure the family survived.
The Springbok captain is a brand ambassador for Freedom of Movement (FOM), a Cape Town leather design company.
Together, FOM and Kolisi are making moves to change lives in South Africa, and to play their part in the South African economy. This project is the first step. The rugby field is something they can change for the better.
“So excited to let you guys know WE HAVE BROKEN GROUND on our first rugby field in Mbekweni township in Paarl,” said Kolisi on Instagram.
“Thank you to every single person who supported this project by buying the green/Kolisi vellies you’re the reason this project is happening – there are so many more to come.
“This has been one of my biggest dreams since I was a young boy. So proud to see it becoming a reality! Live the South Africa you want to see.”
Rugby is a huge part of South Africa culture, so for a star player and a local brand to really push for this initiative is incredibly inspiring to the rest of South Africa.
By Gerald Dandah