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Alexa's Story

In Alexa's Shoes

Alexa was a thirteen year old Catholic girl, who lived in Poland with her mother and sister. One day while out buying new shoes with her mother in 1940, Nazi military trucks drove into town and rounded up all the locals. She was transported to Germany as an unpaid slave for a Gestapo family, whom she had to work for five years separated from her own family...

Read her full story in the novel of her true life experience. In Alexa's Shoes by

Rochelle Alexandra, out this summer 2019.

"Doctor Livingstone, I presume?"

Scottish born explorer, physician and missionary Dr David Livingstone was my great, great, great, great uncle on my mothers side of the family. He was one of the most popular heroes of the late 19th-century Victorian era.

He had a mythical status that operated on a number of interconnected levels: Protestant missionary martyr, working-class 'rags to riches' inspirational story, scientific investigator and explorer, imperial reformer, anti-slavery crusader, and advocate of commercial and colonial expansion. His fame as an explorer and his obsession with learning the sources of the Nile River was founded on the belief that if he could solve that age-old mystery, his fame would give him the influence to end the East African Arab-Swahili slave trade. "The Nile Sources," he told a friend,  "are valuable only as a means of opening my mouth with power among men. It is this power which I hope to remedy an immense evil. His subsequent exploration of the central African watershed was the culmination of the classic period of European geographical discovery and colonial penetration of Africa. At the same time, his missionary travels, 'disappearance', and eventual death in Africa- and subsequent glorification as a posthumous national hero in 1874- led to the founding of several major central African Christian missionary initiatives carried forward in the era of the European scramble for Africa. He was part of an evangelical movement in Britain which during the 19th century helped to change the national mindset from the notion of a divine right to rule "lesser races', to more modernly ethical ideas of foreign policy.

His meeting with Henry Morton Stanley on 10 November 1871 gave rise to the popular quotation "Dr Livingstone, I presume?" After his death, his heart was buried under a Boabab tree at the spot where he died in Zambia and his remains were shipped back to London England, where he rests in Westminster Abbey. He was held in very high esteem by many and for years to come statues were erected in his honor, buildings dedicated in his name as a lasting memorial to him and his face even graced the front of Scottish ten pound notes in Sterling currency from 1971-1998. The David Livingstone Center in Blantyre celebrates his life and is based in the house in which he was born, on the site of the mill in which he started his working life. In 2002, he was named among the 100 Greatest Britons following a UK-wide vote.

In 1983 at 11 yeas of age, Rochelle Alexandra won first place in a national writing competition on the subject of Dr David Livingstone, not knowing at the time that he was her famous ancestor.