Springboks

Rachel Kolisi slams revised Siya biography: 'White men benefitting off black man'

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Rachel and Siya Kolisi during the South African Springboks Rugby World Cup 2019 Champions Tour .
Rachel and Siya Kolisi during the South African Springboks Rugby World Cup 2019 Champions Tour .
Ashley Vlotman
  • Rachel Kolisi, wife of Springbok captain Siya, has again spoken out against an unauthorised biography about the player.
  • In an Instagram post, she takes exception to an updated version of the book Siya Kolisi: Against All Odds, which she believes amounts to exploitation.
  • Kolisi calls for the publisher to suspend any further commercial activity with regards to the book, but the publisher will not be doing so. 

Rachel Kolisi has reignited the debate over an unauthorised biography about husband Siya by alleging that "white men" are continuing to benefit "off the back of a black man". 

In an Instagram post compiled on Thursday, she took exception to a reprint of Siya Kolisi: Against All Odds by Jeremy Daniel, which has been updated to include the Springboks' World Cup victory and boasts a new cover.

The book, which chronicles the national skipper's well-known journey from poverty to barrier-breaker, was released last year to coincide with the Boks' squad announcement and elicited a stern response from Siya, who distanced himself from its publication.

Daniel told Sport24 at the time that he had sought the flanker's input and approval without success.

"We tried. My publisher spoke to his agent for almost two years and they decided it wasn't the right time ... so he wasn't involved officially," he said.

"I presume he knew about it. We just really wanted to tell a positive story in the build-up to the World Cup and celebrate his journey. I did my absolute level best to be as accurate as possible and speak to as many people around him to get the story straight."

While admitting that they remain advised not to seek legal action due to a lack of legal standing - unauthorised biographies are a common occurrence in publishing - Rachel implored the general public to assist in discrediting the book by "calling this out for what it is".

"Siya has not benefited from this unauthorized book in ANYWAY," she wrote, adding a picture with the hashtag #SaveSiyasStory".

"WHITE MEN benefiting off the back of a BLACK MAN. Please avoid using the covers and title of the unauthorized book (it will only give it more exposure)."

She also believes that Kolisi's "struggles" is "his story to tell".

Rachel ends the post by imploring the publisher, Jonathan Ball Publishers, to stop all commercial activity surrounding the book.

"We want (the publisher) to stop printing any and all copies of this book, book stores and online sites not to support the selling of these books. Remove any and ALL marketing material."

Jonathan Ball publishing director Jeremy Boraine, speaking to Netwerk24, said there were no plans to stop selling the book. 

"We have taken note of their unhappiness, but we will not stop publishing it or have it removed from the shelves," he said. 

"It is an unauthorised biography, which is not uncommon. Unauthorised biographies have existed around the world for many years especially about celebrities, sports stars and musicians.

"We do not feel that there is any reason at all to withdraw the book."

An official autobiography is slated to be released before next year's British and Irish Lions tour.

- Compiled by Heinz Schenk

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