WE LOVE HIM: That's what Siyamthanda Kolisi's full first name means. It was given to him by a woman who watched Kolisi's teenage mother bathe her boy 16 months after Nelson Mandela was released from prison.
If Kolisi lifts the World Cup on Saturday in Yokohama, as the first black captain of the Springboks — a team previously so closely aligned with apartheid — the meaning of his name will become much more significant. The boy from the township showered in gold.
For who he is, and what he represents, Kolisi, 28, is far more than just a captain of a rugby team.
For who he is, and what he represents, Siyamthanda Kolisi is far more than just a captain
Born in the Zwide township near Port Elizabeth, he watched South Africa win the 2007 World Cup in a tavern because his family could not afford something as trivial as a television. By the age of 16, Kolisi's grandmother — who raised him — mother and aunt had all died, and he was separated from his half-siblings.
Kolisi's father survived and Siya has organised for dad to be here in Yokohama on Saturday — on his first ever overseas trip.
When he was 12, Kolisi had shown a talent for rugby and went to a junior trial. He wore silk boxer shorts because he did not own any proper kit. Fast forward to 2018, and the moment he walked out at Ellis Park — where Mandela had handed Francois Pienaar South Africa's first World Cup in 1995 — as captain of the Springboks to face England.
He admits now that the significance of his appointment was too much to deal with at the start.
'It was very tough at the beginning,' said Kolisi on the eve of this final. 'When it got announced, it was a big thing back at home, and around the world. It took its toll on me at the beginning and my performance dipped a lot.
He understands what it would mean for a nation to see a black man lift the World Cup with a Springbok on his chest — as the captain of the Rainbow Nation
'We played England in that June