And then South Africa became the first team to lift the Webb Ellis Cup 4 times, second to win the cup consecutively and Siya Kolisi becoming the only national rugby captain in to lead his team to winners, twice.
There was a familiar figure in the director seat was none other than Rassie Erasmus, who became infamous for choosing the double winner captain, Siya Kolisi against much opposition,.
In 2018, as Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus made a bold decision. He appointed Siya Kolisi as captain of the South African national rugby team, despite the advice of his management team, some in the media, and most of the rugby fans.
Erasmus’s decision was met with skepticism by many. Kolisi was a young black player from a disadvantaged background, and he had never captained the Springboks before. But Erasmus was convinced that Kolisi was the right man for the job. He was a talented player, a natural leader, and a role model for young South Africans of all races.
Erasmus’s decision was also significant because it came at a time when South African rugby was facing a transformation crisis. The Springboks had traditionally been a white-dominated team, but the country’s demographics were changing rapidly.
After almost 25 years being back on the international scene, The Springboks captaincy had looked the same, white. Erasmus recognized that the Springboks needed to become more representative of South Africa’s population, and he saw Kolisi as the ideal leader to lead that transformation.
Kolisi’s appointment as captain was a turning point for South African rugby. Under his leadership, the Springboks became a more united team, and they began to achieve success on the field. In 2019, the Springboks won the Rugby World Cup for the third time, and Kolisi became the first black captain to lift the Webb Ellis Cup.
Erasmus’s decision to appoint Kolisi as captain was also a significant moment for South Africa as a whole. Kolisi’s story is one of resilience and triumph over adversity. He is a role model for young people everywhere, and his success as Springbok captain has inspired South Africans of all races to come together and support their national team.
Kolisi’s stroy of poverty, lack of access to infrastructure, being hungry for an opportunity to showcase your talents and making the best out of it is not unique, but it has become the most inspirational at a grand scale nationally and internationally.
The Battle to Get Quotas Right in South African Sports
There’s no need to remind the world of South Africa’s long history of racial discrimination and how The Springboks were one of the most powerful symbols of that discrimination. Since the end of apartheid in 1994, the South African government has implemented a number of policies to promote transformation in sports, including quotas for black players on national teams.
However, the implementation of quotas has been controversial, with some arguing that it is unfair to white players and that it leads to the selection of less qualified players. Others argue that quotas are necessary to address the legacy of apartheid and to ensure that South African sports teams are representative of the country’s population.
Rassie Erasmus’s Intentional Approach to Transformation
Rassie Erasmus has been a vocal advocate for transformation in South African rugby. He has said that he believes transformation is not just about quotas, but also about creating a culture where all players feel welcome and respected.
Under Erasmus’s leadership, the Springboks have become a more transformed team. He has appointed black players to key positions, both on the field and in the coaching staff. He has also created a team culture that is based on respect and inclusion.
Lessons from the Rassie and Siya Example
The story of Rassie Erasmus and Siya Kolisi is one of collaboration, transformation, and success. It is a story that South African institutions can learn from as they strive to build a more united and prosperous nation.
Here are some of the lessons that can be learned from the Rassie and Siya example:
- Collaboration is essential for success. Erasmus and Kolisi worked closely together to create a team culture that was based on respect and inclusion. This collaboration continued on with Siya and Jacques, becoming essential to the Springboks’ success on the field. The bond between Siya and Jacques was visible during press conferences as it was on the field.
- Transformation is not just about quotas. It is also about creating a culture where all people feel welcome and respected. Erasmus was intentional about creating such a culture within the Springboks.
- Bold and intentional resolve is necessary for progress. Erasmus made a bold decision to appoint Kolisi as captain of the Springboks, despite the skepticism of many. This decision paid off, and it helped to transform South African rugby.
The Rassie and Siya example shows that it is possible to achieve collaborative transformation and success. By following their example, South African institutions can build a more united and prosperous nation.
The transformation story of Rassie Erasmus and Siya Kolisi is one that is worth telling. It is a
story of collaboration, resilience, and triumph over adversity. It is a story that South African institutions can learn from as they strive to build a more united and prosperous nation.
The Rassie and Siya example shows that it is possible to achieve collaborative transformation and success. By following their example, South African institutions can build a more equitable and inclusive society.
Written by: Jabu Zwane, a Mindset Development Specialist, founder of the Mindset