Kolisi has been appointed to captain the Springboks in the Castle Lager Incoming Series against England next month, while Pieter-Steph du Toit will lead the side against Wales in Washington. Both men will captain the Springboks for the first time.
Sadly though, not all South Africans are happy about Kolisi’s promotion to captain by Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus. Several mainly white social media users have expressed their dissatisfaction.
Several of these posts have labelled Kolisi a “quota player”. Others have described his appointment as a “political selection”. “Now is the time to remove the name and Springbok emblem because SA Rugby became a joke (sic),” said one post.
These responses show the massive gulf in public opinion regarding transformation in sport. While many feel that not enough is being done to ensure South Africa’s sports teams represent the demographic makeup of the country, others are resistant to any effort to do so. In this particular case, it’s important to note Erasmus has stressed that Kolisi was chosen on merit, and is not a “quota player”.
One Twitter user posted her response to all those who have reacted negatively to Kolisi’s captaincy.
— siyabonga (@SiyaDPhakathi) May 29, 2018
Some black Twitter users have also expressed that they can’t share in South Africa’s joy, saying that in 2018, Kolisi’s status as the first black Springbok captain was long overdue, too little too late or something that should be the status quo already, rather than a newsworthy or unusual occurrence.
Black South Africans! I see you’re celebrating Siya Kolisi becoming Springbok first black captain. Am not; am just surprised why you’re ululating. A National Rugby Team in a Black man’s country celebrating a black Captain? Shouldn’t this be the status quo already? pic.twitter.com/nspWpc1zGP
— Gadabi Khanari (@BingiRasKhanari) May 28, 2018
Other social media users have picked up on the fact that Kolisi is married to a white woman. This has led to some comparing Kolisi to Mmusi Maimane, saying that both are examples of tokenism.
South African whites love black men that are married to white women,i.e. Siya Kolisi, Mmusi…
— Mr Mpisekhaya (@S_FND0) May 29, 2018
Responding to some to those who have voiced criticism about Kolisi’s selection as captain based on his current form, Erasmus said: “I’ve seen Siya go through some tough times this year as captain and as a player.”
“But I know him as the guy who’s always playing well and is a great leader.”
Most of South Africa is behind our new captain, as seen in the tweets below.
Congrats AGAIN to @Siya_Kolisi on the Bok captaincy. Always felt he should've had the honor to lead our Green and Gold to victory. Even in a very badly coached team he acquitted himself and always gets stuck in. #hardworkpaysoff #Springboks
— Chad Williams (@chadwilliams83) May 29, 2018
— Grant (@Lygaboy) May 29, 2018