13 Sep 2020
Springbok wing Cheslin Kolbe says sport helped him to avoid a life of drugs and gangsterism.
Kolbe witnessed both while growing up in Scottsville, a small suburb of Kraaifontein in Cape Town.
In an interview with the Sunday Times, the 26-year-old spoke about how on one occasion he was walking from his parents' house to his grandmother's when he saw two gangs arguing in the middle of a field.
'[They] just started shooting. You get such a fright and you just try and get somewhere safe,' Kolbe said.
'I just ran as fast as I could to my gran's place ... She lived in the hood where it was rough. That's where I've seen people getting stabbed, hit with spades. I've seen them throw bricks at people's heads.'
Kolbe watched friends joining gangs and taking drugs, but was able to avoid the same fate.
'For me, at a young age, it could have gone the easy way, which was gangsterism, become a drug dealer, use drugs, but I think what definitely helped me is the way I was brought up by my parents.'
Sport also played a massive role for Kolbe and he spent a lot of time on the sports field with his father Andrew, who had been an excellent rugby player.
'Everybody told me up until today they wish I could have seen him, that he was phenomenal. Whatever was in front of him he would just demolish, whether it was tackling or running over them. My dad was my hero.'