A force for change, she is a modern-day hero, a game-changer, a mover and shaker who lives with purpose and inspires others to be more and do more. She is our ICONIC humanitarian, Rachel Kolisi. We are thrilled to have Rachel offer us a glimpse into her world as we have so often been moved by her compassion and tenacity to be the change she wishes to see in others. Empowering and encouraging women by making room for conversations and facilitating spaces for women to discover and unleash their world-changing potential, is a significant part of Rachel's purpose while working towards leaving the world a better place than what she found it to be.
As a businesswoman, co-founder of the Kolisi Foundation, wife, and mom, Rachel ultimately strives to lead a meaningful life, using her passion for humanitarian work, her business interests, and influence, as well as her commitment to hearing people’s stories, to positively impact the environments that she finds herself in.
With a long-standing passion to serve individuals and communities across the country, addressing mental health, staying authentically true to who you are, and loving your neighbour are topics Rachel finds herself most passionate about. So much so, she feels this is something she will likely speak about for the rest of her life.
Fiercely passionate about empowering and encouraging women to be strong in who and where they are now, she is also a dedicated advocate for helping women affected by gender-based violence. As Co-Founder of the Kolisi Foundation, Rachel shares that during her journey with the foundation, her most significant learning was that GBV doesn't happen in isolation and it is not exclusive to a certain group, age or stage.
"We need to have a more open and honest conversation about how much inappropriate behaviour men get away with, how a lot of it starts at home, and the lack of healthy challenging conversations between men on this topic."
When asked about the most memorable milestone in her voluntary journey, she claims that while there are so many, the one that is most significant has been the work the Kolisi Foundation has done in partnership with awe - inspiring women who are doing transformational work in their communities.
Rachel describes a memorable achievement for the Foundation was gifting powerhouse Sis’Lungi, who runs multiple community kitchens, a car through the Kolisi Foundation’s Mandela Day initiative. Another of the Foundation's highlights that remains top - of - mind for Rachel is the powerful story of Grace, who is now running an ECD (Early Child Development) Programme. For Rachel, her favourite thing about these milestones and a lot of other Kolisi Foundation work is that it takes the efforts of many to realise this work—"collaboration is so important!".
Inspiring others to be more and do more, she encourages any act of kindness. Whether it's surprising someone with a coffee, helping someone in need with a couple of groceries, leaving small treats for those where you can, or texting a friend to ask how they’re doing, it's always worth it.
"The beauty of kindness is that there are so many opportunities to show it in a day, to just about anyone."
Rachel reveals if she could be a Black Betty piece, it would definitely be the Tiger Necklace that dances on a silver anchor chain as it is a "perfectly edgy, yet feminine" gem. The CZ Stoned Huggies are also an absolute fave!
When asked about the most rewarding moments in her life thus far, she reveals at the top of the list it was becoming a mother and holding the World Cup trophy with Siya. She also mentions that if she could spend a day with anyone (dead or alive), it would be her grandfather. Describing him as a loving figure in her life whom she adored just as much. She would share with him all the good and great things they have done to build this beautiful life.
We asked Rachel to share a quote she lives by and while she is often encouraged by a few favourite scriptures, her most memorable quote is inspired by a Hans Urs von Balthasar quote: "What you are is God’s gift to you, and who you become is your gift to God."
She finds herself reminded that who we choose to become is very important because it plays a significant part in whether or not we leave the world a better place than we found it.
To Rachel, "selflessness" means caring for those around you, being generous and sacrificial without depleting yourself—firmly believing that we can't and shouldn't pour from an empty cup.
Passionate about self-love and women staying true to who they are in a world that’s constantly telling them who and what they need to be, her advice to those struggling to rise above their own struggles with self-image and social media is:
"We need to remember a lot of it isn’t real life and that it’s OK to unfollow things that don’t leave us feeling good about ourselves. I think it’s awesome to follow people that healthily challenge you. There’s just a fine line. "
Self-love comes in many forms and shapes, but for Rachel, it means being her best, most authentic self, listening to her body, and taking care of it.
Defining women as equally loving, nurturing and resilient, she reminds us of the importance of womanhood. Continuously amazed by a woman's intuitive gut, grit, and power, it is no surprise that she reveals two female icons blowing her mind right now are the compelling Melinda Gates and one talented Viola Davis. Her reason for selecting these extraordinary ladies is simply "There’s more than meets the eye."
This is how Rachel defines her way of living life, revealing that the best advice she has received and shares with others is the reminder that where you come from doesn't have to define where you are going.
Inspiring others to go further with confidence and commitment, her dedication to being an extraordinary woman and volunteer to help others and the women in our community has been truly uplifting to watch and experience. We celebrate her empowering, selfless character and champion her work as a humanitarian and an advocate of change and women's empowerment.