Bravery means much more than just the word brave. It is also about endurance, never giving up on your dreams, and taking necessary risks no matter what it takes to achieve them.

I am Axali Jack Doeseb and I am 26 years old. I grew up in Katutura, Windhoek, Namibia. When I was in school, just across from my daycare was a hockey rink where kids from DHPS would skate in the afternoons. In daycare we were not allowed to go outside the premises, as we had to stay and do homework until our parents picked us up after work.

The skating and the kids playing hockey got me interested in trying to skate. In 2003, I took matters into my own hands and started going skating in spite of my parents and the daycare having discouraged me from this. I continued and a few months later, I had learned how to skate and started playing for the team. I had basically enrolled myself.

I have since been playing hockey and have established myself as a professional player at the age of 17. I played professionally in different parts of Europe and represented our national team at the world cup in Toulouse, France. Currently, I am an assistant coach of a very well-established club in Windhoek and I play for them in the Elite Division in the NIIHA league. Apart from all this, I also got some kids into a skating program where they could skate with me in the streets of Donkerhoek Katutura. A few of these kids went on to play hockey despite their circumstances.

I always had a vision of playing hockey at a higher level and outside the country, and I never gave up on my dream. I had many tough times, but because I had a vision and a dream it kept me going.

I have also been brave in my personal life. I have faced many challenges, but I have never given up. I have always believed in myself, and I have always been willing to work hard to achieve my goals.

Never let anyone tell you that you can’t achieve anything, no matter where you come from. A positive mindset does wonders, and having a dream requires discipline and hard work.

I am proud of the person that I have become. I am brave, I am determined, and I am always willing to fight for what I believe in. I hope that my story will inspire others to be brave in their own lives.