Siya Kolisi establishes his first-ever Red Bull Roots rugby clinic
Siya Kolisi wants to give back to his beloved sport through Red Bull Roots, a multi-year partnership with the Kolisi Foundation by building the next generation of young rugby players with a one-day clinic to help upskill and empower them. The one-day clinic held at the Kings Park stadium in Durban, saw some of rugby’s young rising talents from around Kwa-Zulu Natal, both female and male, go through a day of mentorship from Kolisi and some of the country’s finest rugby players. Babalwa Latsha, Sikhumbuzo Notshe and James Venter were there alongside Kolisi to impart key rugby skills, as well their wisdom and passion to the young rugby players.
“Red Bull Roots and the one-day clinic is all about going back to where it all started for me… grassroots rugby. It’s important to me to be giving back and making sure that we’re creating opportunities for young people. I’ve realised that there are young children who look up to me, and I strongly believe that representation is everything. I believe that in shared leadership we can accomplish anything, “says co-founder of the Kolisi Foundation, Siya Kolisi.
The Kolisi Foundation is constructing a state-of-the-art Sports Centre back in his hometown, Zwide, in the Eastern Cape with the completion of the centre expected in 2023. “I hope this sports centre will bridge the gap in terms of unearthing and developing talent. I think the challenge is the resources and communities investing in grassroots sports and that’s what we’re doing with Red Bull Roots, ” explains Kolisi.
Shaping minds at a young age is beneficial to creating the right mentality and fostering the right culture within the sport of rugby. “The more people have access to rugby, the more people play rugby, the bigger the pool of talent that you can work from. The sport isn’t just about “making it”, it also teaches you a lot of things, a lot of values like discipline and accountability,” concludes Kolisi.
As in any other sport, female representation within rugby is equally important. The inclusion of young women at Red Bull Roots clinic highlights the importance of a level playing field and enables young girls to strive and reach the heights that Kolisi has achieved with the World Cup-winning team. It’s also important for them to see themselves in women like Latsha.
Speaking on this, Latsha, said: “This project is all about us passing on core memories and skills. And more than that, the belief that in the fact that we can have another Babalwa Latsha or Siya Kolisi in the near future. This type of project is very close to my heart because, at one point in my life, I was a youngster who was from the township who had no hope, but found the sport of rugby, which opened so many doors for me and gave me the opportunity of being the first-ever woman in Africa to play professional rugby overseas. I want this to happen to the next girl and boy, I want it to happen to so many more young people and know that sports can open up so many opportunities for them. The world is their oyster only if we give them that opportunity.”
Investing in the youth of South Africa through the sport of rugby is one of the reasons Siya Kolisi established the Kolisi Foundation. He is committed to tackling the challenge of inequality in rugby, by providing the youth of South Africa with equal opportunities to thrive in their sporting abilities and positively change their lives.