I recently read an article about Siya Kolisi—the first Black captain of the South African Rugby team— that was posted on the BBC Sport website back in October 2021. The article included excerpts of an interview in which Siya talked about his experiences growing up in poverty, tackling mental health, and dealing with racism.

Siya was born in Port Elizabeth and grew up in Ibhayi. The area he grew up in was impoverished, and he often went hungry as a child. In the interview, he describes the stomach pains he experienced as ‘going past being hungry’. He said he would wake up in the middle of the night screaming to his grandmother for food, so she would give Siya sugar water to settle his hungry stomach.

Siya is proud that the people in his hometown are resilient and used to dealing with hardships —so much so that they refused his charity even after he became a successful rugby player. That said, while he encourages people to stand up for themselves in difficult situations, he applauds those who seek help where mental health is concerned. In particular, he praised the tennis player Naomi Osaka for her honesty in pulling out of the French Open to focus on her mental well-being.  

Siya also speaks about the continuous battle with racism on and off the field. For example, he was subjected to racial abuse online when internet trolls said that his wife—who is white— was too good for him. He also noted that when a team in any sport loses, the non-white players on that team are more likely to receive abuse from the fans. Yet, on the other hand, these same non-white players are addressed as heroes when that team wins.

You can read the full article here: https://www.bbc.com/sport/rugby-union/58981086

Vocabulary List

excerpt 抜粋

poverty 貧乏、貧困、貧窮

mental health メンタルヘルス

racism 人種差別

impoverished 貧困に陥った

resilient 弾力的な・立ち直りが早い

charity 義援[慈善]金、施し物

encourage 励ます

stand up for 立ち向かう

applaud 褒める

Internet troll ネット荒らし

Word Frequency

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