Springboks rugby legend Siya Kolisi will be honoured with the “African Trailblazer of the Year” award at the 2020 E! People’s Choice Awards.

For the first time in the history of the ceremony, E! will be recognising local charity work in Africa with a brand new award: African Trailblazer of the Year. Siya – who led the Springboks to victory at the Rugby World Cup in 2019 – is being recognised for his extraordinary work off the sporting field with the launch of Kolisi Foundation earlier this year.

Kolisi Foundation was established by Siya and his wife Rachel, who share a vision to change the narrative for disadvantaged and vulnerable communities in South Africa, as well as helping victims of gender-based violence. The Foundation was months away from its official launch when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Realising that people needed help more than ever, they immediately decided to launch in March to try and alleviate extreme poverty, mentor underprivileged youth and promote equality.

Siya made history in 2018 when he was selected as the new captain of the Springboks, becoming the team’s first black test captain in its 127-year history. He captained the South African team at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Yokohama, Japan, defeating England in the final and becoming the first black captain of a World Cup-winning side.

On receiving his award, the sporting icon commented: “I’m truly honoured. There are people across the continent doing the most incredible work and to be recognised as ‘African Trailblazer of the Year’ is very humbling. During the lockdown I was able to see first-hand the contributions people make to better the local communities so I would like to dedicate this award to every one of them. I am proud of what Kolisi Foundation has been able to achieve in light of the Global pandemic but there is so much more to do. This is only the beginning. Thank you, E!”

Siya isn’t the only African being recognised. Between October 1 and 23, fans voted in the African Social Star of 2020 category, with Elsa Majimbo announced as the winner earlier this week. The other nominees were Karl Kugelmann, Sho Madjozi, Thuso Mbedu, Wian van den Berg, Zozi Tunzi, Dimma Umeh and Lydia Forson.

The E! People’s Choice Awards will be broadcast live from The Barker Hangar in Santa Monica on Sunday November 15, starting with Live From The Red Carpet at 2am CAT and the ceremony itself at 4am CAT. Both will be repeated throughout the following day on Monday November 16, only on E! (DStv Channel 124).

Picture: Instagram / Siya Kolisi the Bear

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