A 12-year-old boy from Ukhanyo Primary School in Masiphumelele was selected to play the part of a young Siya Kolisi in an ad produced by a German car maker.
The two-and-a-half-minute mini-doccie, AMG Uncovered: Believing in Dreams, describes the Springbok rugby captain’s upbringing and rise to fame. It aired on YouTube in English and German last month.
The young Kolisi is played by Eyam Jumba, who is a keen rugby player at MasiSports, a youth-upliftment programme supporting Ukhanyo Primary and Masiphumelele High schools.
He was chosen to play the part because of his resemblance to Kolisi.
“I have a scar above my eyebrow, the same place Siya does, so I look a bit like him when he was younger. I got the scar while playing with a trolley with my friends,” said Eyam.
Vince van der Bijl, founder of MasiSports, said the Ukhanyo under-12 rugby team had loved meeting Kolisi during the shooting of the ad.
“What an experience it was to meet him and be involved in the production,” he said. “Eyam glowed when asked. Siya is our hero more than ever. These broadening experiences give the children a glimpse of their own possibilities and are so important to their growth.”
Eyam spent a day filming with the Springbok captain at Hamilton Rugby Club in Green Point, where he got to play some touch rugby with the sports star, and then another day filming on the streets of Langa.
Eyam said it was a dream come true meeting Kolisi because he is the Springbok’s biggest fan.
Ukhanyo Primary’s principal, Michael Tyhali, said the whole school community was very proud of Eyam.
“We were all so excited for him to have this experience. These opportunities really have an impact, not only on our community, but on all of our learners and the children growing up in a disadvantaged community like Masiphumelele,” Mr Tyhali said.
“Hopefully, this will inspire them and let them know they can achieve great things and be anything they want to be, and see that sport can give the kids a glimpse of their unlimited potential.”
Eyam, who is being raised by his aunt in Masiphumelele, used some of his earnings from the ad on a new pair of school shoes and a rugby jersey. He also gave some of the money to his family.
Asked if there was anything else he would have liked to have gotten, he said, “A gum guard and a pair of rugby boots.”
One day, he hopes to become just like the icon he idolises.
“When I’m older, I want to be a professional rugby player. I want to play for the Springboks just like Siya.”