About Andre Bertie Els

Everyone has a story to tell. The journeys of my life could be in a way your journey, just different in setting and time. The difference between you and me could be the way we were raised or taught, but we are not talking about you. We are talking about my life and how it played out through good times and bad. The adventures over the course of my life were not always fun, but I learnt early on, life is what you make of it. No matter where you were born.

CHAPTER 10 – Corpses

One Sunday morning, whilst on patrol duties, I received a call on the police radio to attend to what was most probably a suicide. When I heard the name and street address, I immediately recognised it. It was the home of one of the Englishmen from my old neighbourhood. He was one of the older group of guys, against whom we, as youngsters,

CHAPTER 10 – Corpses2023-05-18T03:30:54+10:00

CHAPTER 9 – A Real Cop

Eventually, I turned eighteen and got my civilian driver’s license. I had to pass another driver’s license test to get the State’s authorisation to drive a state-owned vehicle. I considered myself a real cop now and started doing motorised patrols. In the eighties, working at a police station like the one where I was stationed, you had to master everything, from charge office

CHAPTER 9 – A Real Cop2023-05-09T03:01:38+10:00

CHAPTER 8 – Father’s Death

One night, I went to visit my parents. My Dad and one of his old boxing friends were sitting outside, having some wine. I sat down with them and we talked about boxing. ‘The coach makes the boxer,’ my Dad said. I disagreed, and we had a bit of an argument about it. Around nine that evening, I said my goodbyes and got

CHAPTER 8 – Father’s Death2023-05-09T03:04:37+10:00

CHAPTER 7 – Uniform Branch

I started my police career at the Cambridge Police Station, behind the counter in the charge office. The charge office is the heart of the police. All cases and complaints get registered there, before we booked it out to the detectives and investigation officers for investigation. We held the suspects brought in during the day or night in the police holding cells, which

CHAPTER 7 – Uniform Branch2023-02-17T18:23:02+10:00

CHAPTER 6 – Sworn In As A Police Recruit

Soon after my sixteenth birthday, the recruiting officers of the Police came knocking at the door. I was sworn in as a police recruit and two days thereafter I travelled by train to Pretoria Police College, where I would start my police training. From the very first day I was placed with the boxing platoon. I received the extra perks as a police

CHAPTER 6 – Sworn In As A Police Recruit2023-02-07T20:10:35+10:00

CHAPTER 5 – My First Few Jobs Preceding My Working Career

The year 1980 announced the beginning of my ‘working career’. Not yet sixteen, my Dad said that I couldn’t sit around at home and wait for my sixteenth birthday. I was told to find a part-time job. One of my friends had two older brothers. One worked for the South African Railways and the other, so I was told, held down a well-paying

CHAPTER 5 – My First Few Jobs Preceding My Working Career2023-02-07T20:07:06+10:00

Chapter 4 – Recruiting Officers Come Knocking

During the same year as my boxing achievement, 1979, arriving home from school one afternoon, I spotted a police vehicle parked in front of our house. My first gut thought was–my boy, your luck eventually ran out. Just the weekend before, one afternoon walking back from the cliffs, my friends and I set alight some dry grass patches. We would strike matches, throwing

Chapter 4 – Recruiting Officers Come Knocking2022-11-15T16:12:01+10:00


In 1979, I attended a well-known Afrikaans High school in East London. I was fifteen, fit and chosen to represent the Border division (which is the region East London fell under) in the South African Boxing Championships that were held in Cape Town. My club was proud of me. I was a junior and fighting in the under sixteen extra heavyweight category. Being

Chapter 3 – SOUTH AFRICAN BOXING CHAMPIONSHIPS2022-11-15T16:09:17+10:00


I spent my youth in East London, growing up in the Railway community. By now we were five kids, three girls and two boys. Not a wealthy family. We lived comfortably, though, in a three-bedroom railway house, and nothing came your way if you didn’t really need it. My dad was strict, but fair. I was boxing out of Turnbull Park, the Railway

Chapter 2 – GROWING UP IN EAST LONDON2022-08-05T22:00:21+10:00

Chapter 1 – Winter 1970

WINTER JUNE 1970 I am 6 years old, and a few months into my school career and lived with my parents in a town in the Northern Cape called Vryburg. My dad worked on the railway and my mom was a housewife, raising four kids, of which I am the eldest. One early winter’s morning I, as usual, cycled to school. My hands

Chapter 1 – Winter 19702022-08-05T22:03:26+10:00
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