Springbok captain Siya Kolisi wants to use his global platform to fight social justice issues, including gender-based violence and hunger.
Earlier this year, Kolisi and his wife Rachel launched the Kolisi Foundation to help underprivileged communities during the coronavirus pandemic. And a week ago, Kolisi was named a global advocate by the United Nations for its Spotlight Initiative to end violence against women.
According to TheGuardian.com, Kolisi said it’s his responsibility to join the fight against gender-based violence and hunger, as well as supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.
‘I was scared to speak up on these issues at first. I was scared of what others would think of me. Scared about losing sponsors or what teammates would say,’ he said. ‘But if you don’t stand up for what you believe in, what is the point of your platform? You can see this is hurting so many people and you can make a difference.’
‘People look at us [Springboks] and think we’re superheroes. All these great things are happening but that makes it more important for me to help change our society. I let my kids know that it’s OK if I cry.
‘When I hear my friends say they’re babysitting I say: “No, you’re being a parent.” I cook and clean, it should be expected of me. It sounds simple but in our country the strict gender roles lead to a mindset that leads to violence. That’s what I mean when I say we can all do our bit. It’s about encouraging other men to be more involved at home.
‘I still see the men in my community who committed violence against my mother and aunt,’ Kolisi added. ‘Violence is so normalised. I was shown how to put a condom on in sex education but we never had anyone really teach us about violence against women and girls. On the sports field sexist language was everywhere and it all adds up. If we educate our sons, we won’t have to protect our daughters.
‘I hope more athletes join us. We have so much influence. It’s time we use it.’
Photo: Michael Sheehan/Gallo Images