This digital story was created by Isatu as part of The Making of Black Britain.
Who Am I?
I am a strong black woman, the first of a generation to be born and raised outside of the great nation called Sierra Leone.
I am black and British, empowered and inspired by a queen and her king. This all could have been erased. And I would have been telling you a completely different tale.
You see, I was fostered at the age of one to a white British family.
I was told that they had restricted visitation to my mother. My mum had fabricated reasons to see me just to spend some time with me. It wasn't uncommon in the 1970s for working and studying West African parents to foster their children privately.
On one visit, my mother said that I had refused to go to her after she called me "Isatu, Isatu" she called. Apparently, I didn't even look at her. I had been used to being called Amelia. My foster family preferred the name Amelia. Don't get me wrong. It is my middle name.
My auntie wisely guessed that I would be a girl. And there you have it. I was given the name Amelia as a second name. My first name is Isatu, but this family refused to call me that name.
My mum felt hurt. She told me of how I would cling to my foster mother's leg, refusing to go over to her. My mum had already decided that would be the last day she would have to go to that house and the day she was going to rescue me. She knew it was important for me to know who I was. You see my mom embraced being an African woman living in the United Kingdom and equally, bringing up an African daughter born in the United Kingdom.
I grew up looking through photos, albums, of my family, my mum, my dad, my aunts, my uncles, my grandparents, the pride of reading letters from my granddad paramount Chief G.B. Kabere of Yonibana Chiefdom. Pictures of beautiful beaches, the wonderful foods, the wonderful music.
I remember watching the Cadbury's Bounty adverts. My mum would proudly say "those were filmed on the beaches in Sierra Leone." I've always been proud of who I am. And I am Isatu Kamara: a proud black, British born, African, Sierra Leonean woman.