“SIYA”, “See Ye.”  Will that be a new South African greeting.  We can also say “Siyabonga,”  meaning “thank you.” Or why not use our hero’s full name, Siyamthanda, which means “we love him.”   I believe right now every South African does love Siya Kolisi, this young man, who so ably led our rugby team to their illustrious victory in France, winning the 2023 Rugby World Cup for a record 4th time, but also the second time under his captaincy, the first being in Japan in 2019.  Siya has been an exemplary  leader in many ways acknowledged in the many speeches after the game.   He showed himself to be an inspiration, in the build-up, during and after the game, loyal and sensitive to the needs of the team. His rugby career from an early age is marked with achievements. He could continue to play on and remain as successful a captain as he has been, but in his private life, incidentally a committed Christian, he has made the difficult choice to move on.  For the sake of time with his wife and family they are moving to France where he joins a new club.    He promises to continue with his commitments back home and to the Kolisi Foundation.

There is no doubt that sport is South African’s religion, our sportmen and women, our saints.  It is a strong love, and at times an all-consuming passion. There are at times controversies in the ranks of rugby as well as soccer and cricket, – the other greats – plus tennis, hockey, netball, and others, but for at least a month, when there is a major world competition, everything else pales into insignificance.   Wars, the weather and the climate, the economy, crime, corruption and loadshedding capture only a fragment of the media coverage, which makes up a large portion of our daily national diet.   

Under his captaincy, and with the rest of the rugby leadership and the team, our Bokke showed dedication and resilience. They inspired the nation, while the facts are to be faced. “Our nation currently faces significant challenges, poor governance, corruption, crime, and a struggling economy dominate the headlines. The Springboks’ victory serves as a beacon of hope, demonstrating that unity and shared purpose can overcome adversity. It is a clarion call for South Africans to draw inspiration from this triumph and work together to address the pressing issues confronting our country.”  

Members of the assembly of the Synod of Bishops pray with Pope Francis before a working session in the Vatican’s Paul VI Audience Hall Oct. 20, 2023. (CNS photo/Lola Gomez)

How many Catholics have been aware of the Synod on Synodality which ran for a month in Rome, and was reflecting on a way forward for our Catholic faith?    How many were aware of another clarion call, the urgency of the follow-up climate change document Laudate Deum to Laudato Si,  issued by Pope Francis on 4 October, which incidentally was the feastday of St Francis of Assisi and the end of the Season of Creation. Pope Francis states, “the world in which we live is collapsing and may be nearing the breaking point. The impact of climate change will increasingly prejudice the lives and families of many persons.  

November is also a month to consider losses and endings. It is a month of saints, as we remember them all on the feast of All Saints, the thousands who went before us, from the Church’s beginnings until today. They have been recognized for their special dedication and commitment, their passion and their leadership.  They too should be our inspiration.  

What really matters in this strange mixed up world of ours today?  Rugby mania is likely to continue for some time as there will be a victory tour around the country – but why without a big stopover in Gqeberha, Siya’s hometown. Zwide was the township where he started playing rugby in its dusty streets before being awarded a scholarship to Grey’s school and embarking on his journey to fame and fortune.  For us his move to France is a disappointment, a loss for the country. We need our leaders, to lead, to be role models for the future sportmen and women, the young boys and girls, disillusioned and so often without hope for their future.  Siyamthanda, we love you. May your example and dream live on.  Who knows, maybe our new greeting “See ye, Siya, See Ye!,”  will remind and inspire us, remaining in our hearts and minds for ages to come. TR FAMILY WEEKLY 1 NOVEMBER 2023


1 November.  The Narrow Door.  “I don’t think that Luke is very “merciful” in his gospel. If you don’t buy into the values of this Kingdom of God, you’re out in the cold.” “Plus the only way in is through a narrow door. Is that because only a few people  wish to go in, or to make it difficult for people?  When I saw it, the small door into the church in Bethlehem’s Manger Square reminded me of that narrow door and I was told it was like that because the big main entrance had been bricked up during the time of the Crusades to prevent soldiers on horseback from riding in. Makes you think.”   The matrics carried on their discussion long after the debate and their teachers were glad.  As Mr Bozzoli said, “Jesus taught that the wedding feast of Life, or of the Kingdom, presided over by the Master of the House, is open to all peoples of all nations. But we must still seek diligently for that narrow door that leads to eternal life. 

Reflect, share, Scripture. Strive to enter by the narrow door, for many I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. Luke 13:22-30. Pope Francis: We need to take up an ancient lesson found in different religious traditions and also in the Bible, it is the conviction that “less is more.”  LS222. “The Church is for everyone, everyone!!” Pope Francis at the 2023 Synod on synodality. Action and prayer:  Remember in prayer the needs of those we have loved and lost..

For full overview of November Thoughts for the Day go to FAMILY MATTERS