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From food parcels to raising funds: seven times Rachel & Siya Kolisi helped SA in times of need

29 December 2020 - 14:00 By unathi nkanjeni
Siya and Rachel Kolisi use a wheelbarrow to deliver food in an East London township as part of their foundation's efforts to ease the plight of the poor.
Siya and Rachel Kolisi use a wheelbarrow to deliver food in an East London township as part of their foundation's efforts to ease the plight of the poor.
Image: Chris Joubert

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi and his wife Rachel showed the country this year that ubuntu goes a long way.

Through the Kolisi Foundation, the pair has been lending a hand to those in need during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Over the past few months, the foundation has provided food to those affected the most by the pandemic and raised funds for a paralysed Cape Town teen.

Here is what the foundation has been up to this year:

Donating PPE

In March, the Rugby World Cup-winning captain provided face masks‚ hand sanitisers and goggles to the Livingstone Hospital in Port Elizabeth and the Khayelitsha Hospital in Cape Town. The Kolisi Foundation announced that it would supply more than 4‚000 litres of hand sanitiser‚ 400 pairs of reusable goggles‚ and face shields.

“We all have a role to play. For some of us that is to stay at home right now and for [others], we can do a bit more than that. That is to offer resources and help out any way we can,” said the foundation.

Donating food parcels

In April, the foundation donated 500 food parcels to people in Zwide township, Port Elizabeth, Kolisi's hometown.

The donations were made under the campaign “each one, feed one”, in partnership with the Imbumba Foundation and the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

“This is a difficult time for many people, and we are committed to making sure as many people as possible are equipped.”

'There is nothing worse than hunger'

In an interview on CNN, Kolisi said helping the less fortunate was something close to his heart. He said having experienced hunger first hand gave him more reasons to give back because there was “no better feeling than helping somebody else”.

“There's nothing worse than hunger. 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,” said Kolisi.

“If I went a couple of days without eating I would go to my neighbour and ask for something. Sometimes we live in a house with 10 or 15 people in one room. It's really hard to have social distancing.”

Joins forces with Faf du Plessis 

The Kolisi Foundation joined forced with Proteas cricketer Faf du Plessis in May to provide food packages for those in need in Cape Town.

The pair, with the help of their wives, reached out to residents and donated food parcels in Bonteheuwel, on the Cape Flats.

“This post is not about us but I want to honour Siya Kolisi and Rachel Kolisi and the Kolisi Foundation for the amazing work you guys do to help people,” Du Plessis wrote on Instagram.

“Thank you for helping us in a big way yesterday so that we can keep doing our part to help people in need and spread some love during this time. Yesterday we saw how many people coming together and giving their best can change a community. They are the heroes.”

The importance of the course 

In an interview with Sunday Times, Rachel shared why it was so important for her and her husband to be in communities helping to feed people during the pandemic.

“The heartbreaking thing is knowing that this isn't the reality for people only during Covid-19, it's a reality that will be with them even afterwards,” she said.

“I remember the first time we went out, we were so cautious about how people were going to feel about it. One thing that was super important for us was to make sure that the food goes into the hands that need it.”

Sharing a meal in Joe Slovo

In June, Kolisi spent time with those he helped at a soup kitchen in Joe Slovo, Cape Town, where more than 585 children and elderly get a meal a day.

Kolisi spent the day at the soup kitchen and helped provide nutritious food and ice cream.

“A shout-out to Lungi who has been supporting children and elders long before Covid and is now providing a hearty meal to more than 585 children and elders a day with the food support provided by the Kolisi Foundation.”

Raising funds for paralysed teenager

In October, the Kolisi Foundation raised just more than R16,600 through a crowdfunding campaign to support a teenager, Bryan Diamond, who was left paralysed by gang violence in the Cape Flats in 2006.

Diamond was paralysed at the age of three after a stray bullet from a gang shoot-out struck him in the head. The Kolisi Foundation has donated close to R40,000 to help improve the lives of the teenager and his family.