June 07, 2024

Siya Kolisi's battle with the bottle

Siya Kolisi had to give up booze to save his relationship
Photo: Springbok

After four years in the making, Siyamthanda "Siya" Kolisi's new documentary is ready to be aired. Filmmaker Tebogo Malope is the mastermind behind this captivating film, titled "The Rise of Siya Kolisi" which will be aired on Netflix soon.


The documentary also reveals that the Springbok captain, who first tasted World Cup victory in 2019 and again 2023, used to be a heavy drinker. Kolisi, who turns 33 on 16 June reveals that he could not control his alcohol intake, which nearly ended his relationship and marriage with his wife, Rachel Kolisi, nee Smith. He said he stopped drinking because he wanted break the circle of alcoholism in his family and doesn't want his son, Nicolas, to drink like he did.

He also recounted an incident where his father showed up intoxicated at one of his games, only to be escorted out by security.

"I had to intervene and clarify that he was my father," Kolisi added. Reflecting on the past, he now values his father's presence at his games, even if he was under the influence, at times. "At the end of the day, every single human being has made mistakes and experienced challenges and I'm not scared to admit that. I think if you hide it and hold onto it, that means you're not moving on and I want to normalise addressing these subjects openly. For example, if you need to see a therapist, see a therapist. If you need help, get help. I want to make sure that some of the challenges experienced in the past are not the same for the next generation.'


Rachel herself shares her perspective on the early stages of their relationship, saying that they faced challenges due to Kolisi's party lifestyle. However, he turned his life around when their first child Nicolas Siyamthanda was born in 2015. He said after his son's birth, he knew he had to change his life around. In 2017, the couple welcomed their daughter, Keziah. Before the birth of their firstborn, Rachel and Siya had already begun their journey as parents in 2014 by adopting Kolisi's two siblings, Liyema and Liphelo. These siblings had endured a difficult upbringing, spending time in orphanages and foster care following the passing of their mother in 2009.

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