Siya Kolisi, the popular South African leader, has ruled out a career in politics. He wants to focus on his foundation, which helps victims of gender-based violence. Kolisi shared his personal story of witnessing abuse in his family and community with his Racing 92 teammate, Dan Biggar, in an interview with the Daily Mail. He said he had to go through therapy and marriage counselling to heal his emotional wounds and learn to communicate.
“I’m not interested in politics. I want to work on my foundation. I was in New York last week to raise funds for it,” he said. “South Africa has the highest rate of gender-based violence in the world. My aunt and my mum were the first people I knew who were abused.
“In my community, it was so common that it became normal. That’s not right, to be used to things like that. If a man and a woman had an argument, it would end up in a fight, because men don’t talk. “I learned to talk by going to therapy. I had to go to marriage counselling because I couldn’t give my wife everything, because my heart was hard and I didn’t know how to talk.
“When I went to therapy for the first time, the therapist said: ‘You are damaged on every level. The things that you saw are not normal’. “It’s very bad, very extreme. You have to talk about it, get over it. That’s why you grow up with a hard heart. Something happens in the community, you fight with someone, forgive them, and move on. That’s normal in my neighbourhood.” Kolisi was moved by the reaction of the people to the 2023 Rugby World Cup victory.
He said: “Many people have been in a dark place, but you could see their happiness when we travelled around South Africa. It seemed like they had been waiting for something to cheer them up.
“Some people couldn’t watch us at home during the World Cup because they had to pay for the TV. People started opening malls at 10pm to watch us play. People from different backgrounds and races, all sitting together.
“When we went back, I was amazed by what I saw. In Cape Town, the bus was stuck. You looked up and you saw only people. Then you turned a corner and there were more people. It was amazing.”