Siya Kolisi was named the captain of South Africa’s rugby union team on Monday, marking the first time a black player has ever been given the honor in the club’s 127-year history .
According to a CNN report, the 26-year-old’s ascent to the Springboks armband comes three years after his international debut against Scotland, a contest in which he was crowned man of the match. Kolisi has since scored four tries in 28 international appearances.
Rassie Erasmus, South Africa’s director of Rugby, confirmed the historic appointment in a statement.
Kolisi rose to prominence from humble beginnings in the impoverished township of Zwide outside Port Elizabeth, impressing scouts from a very young age and earning a scholarship to the prestigious Grey Junior School. He credits that opportunity with changing his life.
“I was given the opportunity and I took it with both of my hands,” He said. “You can always make it, as long as you believe. Your past doesn’t determine your future.”