With so much going on around the world right now, it can be hard to keep up with South African heroes. To connect fans to their favourite athletes, artists and social entrepreneurs, Red Bull Connect speaks to topics making waves in local sports, gaming, technology, and dance. The latest episode features Springbok rugby captain and national hero Siya Kolisi, who unpacks topics such as leadership and his journey to the top of the rugby world.
In this episode, hosted by 5FM radio presenter and SABC 1 TV host Zanele Potelwa, Siya discusses how his upbringing impacted his outlook on leadership, what it took to become captain of the South African national rugby team, and his role as a warrior for social justice.
“Growing up in Zwide was a happy time in my life, despite what we lacked, because of all the love and support I had from my community,” Kolisi says. “That’s why the spirit of Ubuntu is so close to my heart because, without the support of the community and people working together, I wouldn’t be here today.”
The episode takes a glimpse into Siya’s upbringing and how the need to step up and take his future into his own hands at a young age instilled the leadership traits he possesses today. His drive to excel in everything he did was motivated by his need to help his family and his community, which kept him focused on achieving his dream to become the best at what he does.
Kolisi also shares some of the biggest drivers that helped him keep his eye on the ball growing up, including his family, community, and his experience at Grey High. The latter was a defining moment in his life where he realised that there was no limit to what he could achieve and that he could become anything he wanted to be. “When I arrived at Grey High, I told myself that nothing could stop me and that I had to make this work, not just for me, but for everybody else back home who would do anything to get this opportunity.”
Siya also talks about his vulnerabilities and how they can be a source of strength that can help the next person grow. “When I look in the mirror, I don’t see a hero because I’ve got flaws and weaknesses. Instead, I see someone who wants to make sure everybody has equal opportunities. I see someone who believes in this country so much and is willing to show his vulnerabilities to others so they can realise that they can achieve anything they set their mind on.”
The episode also looks at Kolisi’s achievements, including the launch of his limited-edition Red Bull Energy Drink can. On being at such an exciting period in his career, Kolisi says, “It’s a great reminder to everyone who comes from a similar background to mine that anything is possible.” This point is further brought home by the Kolisi’s hint at an upcoming business venture he plans to bring from The US to South Africa’s shores, giving his fans even more to look out for in his bright future.
“When anyone speaks about leadership, Siya is pretty much the cream of the crop. It’s amazing to see the impact that people have had on his life and how his story is now impacting the lives of people around the world,” says Zanele Potelwa, TV and radio personality and host.
“I believe I’m here to serve a purpose, and I fight every day to live out that purpose, using sport as a vehicle to do so. I always encourage people around me to realise what their purpose is and do everything in their power to fulfil it,” concludes Kolisi.
Fans can watch Siya’s Red Bull Connect episode here.