Rachel Kolisi Reaches Out to Wrongfully Arrested Teen Who Lost Mom in Accident
Rachel Kolisi Reaches Out to Wrongfully Arrested Teen Who Lost Mom in Accident. Pictured above: Sihle / Image Credit: Kolisi Foundation

After being wrongfully arrested in June 2019, for an attempted robbery he didn’t commit, 19-year-old Sihle from Table View, Cape Town, spent eight fearful months in custody while awaiting trial. During that time – disconnected from the world – Sihle’s mom tragically died in a car accident… and the home he had always known was taken over.

When the camera footage from the night in question was investigated, he was finally acquitted on all charges and released from Pollsmoor Maximum Security prison. But the innocent teenager had nowhere to go. His life had been destroyed.

He soon found himself sleeping on the streets, in front of a Police Station, after the homeless shelter he was staying at kicked him out after only three months.

A leap of faith

Something else had happened while he was behind bars – Siya Kolisi, Springbok rugby caption and co-founder of the Kolisi Foundation, had given a motivational speech to the inmates.


Sihle took a leap of faith and reached out to the Kolisi Foundation to share his story and his hopes for the future… He couldn’t get hold of Siya (whom he had met in prison), so he sent an email to Rachel Kolisi.

To his surprise, Rachel Kolisi responded.

To his surprise, Rachel responded. “I couldn’t believe it,” he says.

Rachel says she has been inspired by his strength and the sadness in his story, and the Kolisi Foundation is now trying to help turn Sihle’s life around. “I’ve come across so few people that are this resilient and so few people who have overcome what he has overcome,” says Rachel.

In line with their motto, “remember the one, one by one”, The Kolisi Foundation has since found a temporary shelter for Sihle to stay at and has enrolled him in courses to complete his matric and receive computer skills development, so he can have a better future and follow his dreams.

Watch Sihle’s story:

Helping Sihle build a better future

To cover his basic living costs such as food, transport, and toiletries while staying at the shelter, the Kolisi Foundation has launched a crowdfunding campaign on BackaBuddy which has already raised over R33 000 towards their fundraising target of R150 000 with kind contributions from 86 donors.

Additional funds will be used to cover Sihle’s fixed monthly costs for rent and groceries, as well as psychologist services, or anything that could help with his health and wellness.

“It’s so many other people’s stories in our country. How are we making ourselves aware of these stories? And what are we doing to change that narrative?” – Rachel Kolisi

“I think it’s important for all of us as South Africans to realize that this is the state of our nation, and this is the state that people in our country are living in. Sihle’s story is so important because it’s not just his story. It’s so many other people’s stories in our country. How are we making ourselves aware of these stories? And what are we doing to change that narrative?”  says Rachel.

To support Sihle, make a donation on BackaBuddy here: https://www.backabuddy.co.za/funds-for-sihle

Alternatively, make a donations via Snapscan:
https://pos.snapscan.io/qr/funds-for-sihle