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South African Rugby Captain, Siya Kolisi Under Fire for Comments About Quotas

South African rugby captain Siya Kolisi has been the subject of heated discussion on Twitter for saying that Nelson Mandela would have not supported quotas.

Kolisi made the comments during an interview with Kyodo News in Japan.

During the interview, he is asked what he thinks former president Mandela would have said about transformation quotas in rugby.

According to Kyodo News, Kolisi is in Japan to visit electronics company Panasonic. “Rather than just a face, his role with Panasonic is very hands-on. The first collaboration – with both parties adamant it will be a long-term project – between the 27-year-old and the Japanese company saw 10,000 solar lights donated to township kids to commemorate the 100th birthday of Nelson Mandela,” says the publication.


The interview, published on YouTube in three parts, covers Kolisi’s impoverished upbringing in Zwide outside Port Elizabeth.

Kolisi, the first black player to captain the Springboks in a test match, says: “Sometimes I used to go to bed with one meal a day. That’s why I liked going to school because I was guaranteed one slice of bread and some powder milk.”

The interview covers the scholarship he won to the prestigious Grey High School in Port Elizabeth.

In Part 3, The interviewer asks Kolisi if the thinks Nelson Mandela would have supported the quota system in place in South African rugby.

“I don’t think (Mandela) would have supported that,” Kolisi said. “You shouldn’t put a number on something like that… I wouldn’t want to be picked because of my skin color.”

The Springboks are due to play Japan at at Kumagaya Rugby Ground in September.


Written by PH

One Comment

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  1. Siya thank you for thinking logically. Quotas is degrading for anyone and it does not redress anything from the past or wherever. I coach a sport and many years ago we also had quotas and i had this beautiful young lady who said to me,please she just does not want to be a quota, but she was good enough to make the team. We had to announce the first 3/4 the rest had to be quota. So what happens in a world with no quotas, you can never be the best, so what comes this money spent on a free ride. To be the best takes time,money,dedication,a will and commitment. So yes Siya given time and improved school opportunities more and more talented athletes will come onto world arenas or better competition opportunities. Quotas will create: i have talent but why must I work so hard I will be in the team anyway. Or they see they are not so good but in a team the system is degrading and unfair. So I applaud you for taking a stance and wish you many years of good rugby

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