Theirs was a classic tale. Two people from different sides of the track met and fell in love. Fast forward a few years, and they have become a power couple. Siya and Rachel Kolisi share a truly South African love story, one of love with trials and tribulations. This is how it all began.
When Siya met Rachel:
Siya and Rachel met at a dinner party in Stellenbosch back in 2012. They soon became friends, but Siya always liked Rachel. He eventually plucked up the nerve to ask her out, an experience he has described as scary. “I knew I liked her and had to tell her,” he wrote on their wedding website. “It was scary. I asked her to lunch and that’s when I told her. She played hard to get in the beginning, but eventually admitted it as well. The rest is history. We have a beautiful family and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with her.”
Siya and Rachel have a big, blended family. Their first son, Nicholas Siyamthanda, was born in 2015. Their second child, daughter Keziah, was born in 2017.
Siya’s young half-siblings Liyema and Liphelo also live with the family. Siya and his siblings share a mother who unfortunately passed away in 2009, causing both Liyema and Liphelo to bounce from orphanages and foster homes for years until Siya and Rachel were financially able to adopt them in 2014.
Because of Siya’s busy schedule, Rachel left behind her career as an event manager and marketing executive to become a full-time mother to their four kids.
Will you marry me?
The couple became engaged whilst sky high. Siya popped the question during a helicopter ride over Cape Town.
They married on August 13, 2016 with a beautiful ceremony in Franschhoek that had many South African athletes and other notable attendees present, such as Aisha Baker. Top Billing was on hand to capture their journey to the aisle. Watch their wedding insert below:
Highs and lows:
Their relationship has not been without difficulties. Throughout their longterm relationship, the couple have been subject to much racial abuse from members of the public.
Rachel has also taken to social media after women have reportedly tried to interfere in her marriage. In response to a woman saying Siya was her type, Rachel tweeted,”Siya is not ‘a type’. He’s a married man responsible for four children. Just a side note. I’ve been there for all the good times. But I’ve also been there for ALL the bad times. Honestly, this should go without saying. Respect my relationship and woman to woman. Respect me.”
She has also publicly spoken out about women trying to reach out to her husband via social media, including a fitness model that sent Siya provocative photos via Instagram.
A national hero:
From his humble beginnings in Zwide township outside Port Elizabeth to representing the nation at the Rugby World Cup, Siya’s rugby journey has taken him to heights he never imagined. In 2018, Siya became South Africa’s 61st skipper and the first black African to assume the role. Most recently he led the Springboks to victory at the 2019 Rugby World Cup and brought the trophy back home, a third time for SA. His success will certainly inspire a new generation of South African athletes.
Of course, his family was there every step of the way to cheer him on.
Image: Instagram / Siya Kolisi