Siya Kolisi, Captain of the South African Rugby World Champion 2019 Team, a symbol of the revival of the rainbow nation, has won the Peace and Sport Award for ‘Champion of the Year’ for his commitment to education and social cohesion.
Siya Kolisi brought the Springboks to their third world title, and in doing so, became a national hero on November 2, 2019, in Yokohama.
Born in the township of Zwide, north of Port Elizabeth, an area marked by unemployment and lack of opportunity, Siya was deprived and often hungry.
Now a household name in world rugby, this third-line player has not forgotten his community and gets involved in everyday life to transmit the values of sport to youth. He initiated his school’s development and donated sports equipment to his childhood club: the African Bombers.
At the 100th Anniversary of Nelson Mandela in 2018, he was the ambassador of a program to offer photovoltaic lamps to more than 100,000 isolated South African families without electricity.
After the Rugby World Cup, he set up a national campaign to equip 262 schools with digital tablets – 262 being a symbolic number which refers to the number of points scored by his team during the competition.
The Champions for Peace club have voted for Siya Kolisi’s flawless work on and off the pitch. He succeeds Blaise Matuidi and joins other revered members such as François Pienaar, another number 6 for the Springboks, who was awarded the Webb Ellis Prize in 1995 by Nelson Mandela.
A number of the best Peace-through-Sport initiatives were witnessed on stage during an exceptional evening at the Monaco Opera House, in the presence of His Serene Highness Prince Albert, Patron of Peace and Sport.
Joël Bouzou, President and Founder of Peace and Sport, said: “The Peace and Sport Awards are a unique opportunity to focus the world on sport’s initiatives for Peace. From grassroots NGOs to governments in the world of sport. We all have a role to play and we must use this wonderful tool of sport for peace. I would also like to congratulate Siya Kolisi, Champion of the Year, who, like Nelson Mandela, has shown the unique power of sport to bring people together.”
ORIGINAL SOURCE: Peace & Sport