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By Bonginkosi Tiwane

Digital Journalist

Young artist meets Siya Kolisi after this viral artwork of Bok captain

The self-taught artist struggled to get access from security until Siya Kolisi intervened via video call.

There’s a ubiquity of talented content creators on social media who never get celebrated, let alone get contacted by two-time World Cup winning captain Siya Kolisi on Instagram. But 21-year-old artist Sandile Kgaphola from Polokwane was directly contacted by Kolisi, who wanted to meet him.

“He just sent me a text as I was in Rosebank preparing to head to Polokwane, asking where I was and that he wanted to meet me,” Kgaphola told The Citizen.

The artist is popularly known by his Instagram handle, sk_original_rsa.

The self-taught artist made a unique glass portrait of the Springbok captain just before the final on Saturday and images of the artwork went viral, managing to reach Kolisi.

Kolisi isn’t the first prominent person Kgaphola has paid homage to through his artwork. He’s made portraits of US rapper Kendrick Lamar, actress Thuso Mbedu and most recently rapper A-Reece.

“I usually do artwork of people who have influenced me and have had an impact on me,” said the artist.

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Meeting Siya

Kgaphola was in Gauteng to deliver a portrait he made of A-Reece but travelled with the Kolisi artwork to show it at a gallery over the weekend. After the show, the text from Kolisi came.

“He just said tell me where you are. I told him I’m in Rosebank and he said he was at the airport. But when I got there security didn’t want to let me in because they thought I faked the texts from Siya,” said Kgaphola.

True to the humble nature usually spoken of Kolisi, he video called Kgaphola so he could speak with the security guards to give him access.

“Siya spoke with the security guards who didn’t want to let the guys I was with in, but Siya told them to let the other guys in.

“He’s very tall, it’s the part that surprised me the most about him,” said Kgaphola about meeting the Bok captain.

“He’s very humble. He was cool about everything, he allowed me to do what I had to do,” said Kgaphola, adding that Kolisi insisted on taking the perfect photos that the artist would use on his social media.

The young artist didn’t want to divulge if the world-famous rugby player gave him anything in return for the artwork.

“It’s a tribute. It’s not like they ordered the artwork, it’s something I do because I want to do it. Some do pay, but it’s never me asking for payment. But Siya did give me something, I won’t say what it is,” he said laughing.

Inspired work

The sublime Kolisi portrait, which looks like it was manufactured by a machine, took the artist only a day to put together. “Even before the World Cup, I wanted to do it (Siya portrait),” said the artist.

“I’m not a rugby fan, but I watched the World Cup to see him lead the guys on the field. It’s inspiring to hear his life story… it shows that anything is possible.

“It took me about 12 to 14 hours to make it, most of these take longer. But I gave my full dedication to it, I worked on it the whole day with no breaks in-between.”

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