Covid-19: South African icon Kolisi leading from the 'front'

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The rugby World Cup-winning captain is doing his bit to help underprivileged South Africans during this hour of need (Reuters)
The rugby World Cup-winning captain is doing his bit to help underprivileged South Africans during this hour of need (Reuters)

Published: Thu 30 Apr 2020, 12:43 AM

Having grown up in Zwide, an impoverished neighbourhood outside Port Elizabeth, the memories came flooding back for South Africa's rugby World Cup-winning captain Siya Kolisi.
Kolisi, who led the Springboks to the World Cup title in Japan last November, witnessed the poor in the country struggle to make ends meet.
The impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic has left the less fortunate in South Africa not knowing when their next meal would be, or where it would come from. Kolisi himself went through such tough times during his younger days, when he was raised by his grandmother.
And the 28-year-old flanker is doing his bit to help underprivileged South Africans during this hour of need.
Kolisi, who is the first black captain of a World Cup-winning team, and his wife Rachel are distributing food packets and personal protective equipment (PPE) in Zwide, through their charity - The Kolisi Foundation. The couple are also frontliners, sending out messages, urging people to stay safe by staying at home as South Africa goes into its fourth week in lockdown. "For me, it's personal because I know there's nothing worse than hunger," Kolisi was quoted as saying by CNN on Tuesday.
"There's nothing worse than listening to your stomach before you go to bed. And you just hear grumbling, you have nothing to eat, you've got no other choice," he added.
Kolisi is well aware of the magnitude of the virus in South Africa where there have been 4,793 cases and 90 deaths.
"It could be huge. That's what gets me going and keeps me motivated to work as hard as I can to try and help the frontline workers," he said.
He also reiterated that he's not just doing it because he knows first hand what it feels like but for the sheer joy in helping someone.
"I'm not disadvantaged anymore, you know, and I don't see myself like that. But I know what it feels like. What I'm trying to say is you don't have to come from there to be able to give back. There's no better feeling than helping somebody else," explained Kolisi.
Kolisi is also eagerly looking forward to things returning to normalcy and said that sport has a strong power of connecting people."That's going to be amazing," Kolisi said of the possibility of sports resuming once the lockdown is over.
"I think sport does a lot of things to people. You know, it makes people happy sometimes. It gives you different emotions, but it speaks to everyone. We're only going to fight this thing together and we need to stand united together as humanity. The sooner we realise that, the better it'll be. The sooner we help one another, the better it's going to be," he added.
james@khaleejtimes.com

By James Jose

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