Siya Kolisi has been named one of the 100 Most Influential People of 2024. Image: X/Twitter

Kolisi’s journey from Zwide to TIME100: A story of resilience

Siya Kolisi, South African rugby captain, named on TIME100 list for 2024. A beacon of hope, inspiring change on and off the field


Siya Kolisi has been named one of the 100 Most Influential People of 2024. Image: X/Twitter

Siya Kolisi, the Springbok rugby captain, has once again made headlines by securing a spot on TIME Magazine’s esteemed TIME100 list for 2024. This annual list showcases the 100 most influential individuals from around the world, and Kolisi’s inclusion is a testament to his remarkable journey.

Growing up in the impoverished township of Zwide, Kolisi faced numerous challenges. However, his unwavering determination and exceptional talent propelled him to become not only a rugby superstar but also a symbol of hope for many.

Kolisi’s World Cup Triumphs

Kolisi’s leadership skills were on full display during the 2019 and 2023 Rugby World Cup tournaments. In 2019, he made history by becoming the first black captain to lead the Springboks to victory. Four years later, he achieved the rare feat of successfully defending the title, joining an elite group of players who have accomplished this.

What makes Kolisi’s World Cup successes even more remarkable is the fact that he had to overcome serious knee injuries in the lead-up to both tournaments. His resilience and determination in the face of adversity have inspired rugby fans and non-fans alike.

Kolisi’s Reaction to the TIME100 Honour

Upon learning of his inclusion on the TIME100 list, Kolisi expressed his gratitude and humility. “Being named to the TIME100 list is an incredible honour, one that deeply humbles me,” he said in a statement.

Kolisi also acknowledged the significance of this recognition, stating, “It’s a profound responsibility to stand alongside individuals who dedicate their lives to enriching others. This recognition isn’t just for me; it reflects the numerous individuals and communities who have poured into me and shaped me to be person I am and am becoming.”

The Impact on South African Society

Kolisi’s influence extends far beyond the rugby pitch. As the first black Springbok captain, he has become a symbol of unity and progress in a nation still grappling with the legacy of apartheid. His story has inspired countless South Africans to dream big and overcome obstacles.

Off the field, Kolisi and his wife, Rachel, have been actively involved in various charitable initiatives. Their foundation, the Kolisi Foundation, aims to alleviate poverty and promote education and social justice in South Africa.

Siya Joins Elite Group of South Africans

Kolisi’s inclusion on the TIME100 list places him in the company of other distinguished South Africans who have been recognised in previous years. These include Olympic champion Caster Semenya (2019), acclaimed comedian Trevor Noah (2018), and renowned AIDS researcher Professor Glenda Grey (2017).

As Kolisi continues to make his mark on the world stage, his influence as a role model and agent of change is set to grow even further. His presence on the TIME100 list serves as a celebration of his extraordinary achievements and the indelible impact he has made on South African society and beyond.