Cape Town - His story is one of triumph, resilience of hardships and success.
Andre Alexander recently published his autobiography, called The Turning Point, which describes living through and coping with apartheid while still excelling in sports.
Alexander strived to become a champion in every sport he took part in. His will power to overcome barriers, hurdles and injuries and the support of his family made him the person who he is today.
Alexander, who grew up in Crawford but now stays in Oudtshoorn, played a number of sports including hockey, athletics and table tennis but excelled at baseball and soccer. He achieved his South African baseball colours in 1988 and played for former PSL outfit Santos FC in 1993.
Alexander, who is the sport coordinator/athlete support for the Eden District Academy of Sport, said: “My story captivates the essence of living during those dark days. Playing barefoot in the park and only getting my first pair of soccer boots at the age of 12. Olympic multi-studs with orange stripes and green laces, only to get it stolen on my first tour to Port Elizabeth with the Cape Town Football Association board team.”
“Walking home from school during those cold, rainy winter afternoons and having to remove your shoes and socks 100 metres away from your gate because the roads are flooded at knee height. This was due to no drainage and/or tar roads.
“Enjoy the journey with me as I take you through the years of having little or too much to eat, joy, sadness, goals, record-breaking glory days, disappointments and ultimately a breakthrough in my life. My disappointment is and was God's appointment,” he said.
Alexander contemplated writing his autobiography in 2008 after he was encouraged by Nigerian pastor, Femi Emmanuel, during his visit to Ambassadors in the Sport Leadership Conference ahead of the Fifa World Cup in 2010.
He said his remark was that each young person needed to read his autobiography because it had much value and teaching moments in it.
“I believe my autobiography would help people as it describes my growing up (in Cape Town) during the dark days of apartheid. Instead of choosing drugs, alcohol and a gangster lifestyle, I chose sport. Baseball and soccer helped shape my character and make good life choices through the medium of sport.
“I believe every young person needs mentors and local sport heroes that they can identify with. They should mimic the choices that made us achieve what we did through sheer hard work and following our heroes of the past.
“My faith in God, my beautiful family, dog and being able to serve our local athletes in the arena of high performance sport and working with the youth keeps me motivated,” he added.
His wife, Mandy, said: “I think it's awesome that it took Covid-19 to force him to sit down and complete his autobiography that he started writing some years ago. I loved editing it as it brought back so many great memories. I guess an autobiography does that to you and Andre's one is no exception.
“I've been with him on most of the journey, from school athletics to soccer to baseball and eventually softball and could relate to so many of the memories with him. Some really awesome experiences and long-lasting friendships.”