I graduated at eighteen years old with a First Class Law degree from Fourah Bay College at University of Sierra Leone. Two years later, barely twenty, I became the youngest lawyer in the history of Africa and second youngest in the world. If you google my name, you will find pages and pages outlining this accomplishment and my graduation pictures with my beaming parents. I wonder if you are surprised that I have achieved all this? I know many people are, and that is why I am proud to tell the world that I, a black female, born and brought up in West Africa, has made history. To be a role model, to inspire others to pursue their dreams and aspire to limitless goals, this is what makes me humble.
I am certain there are a few African parents showing these pictures to their children and advocating how a law degree is the way to go. The funny thing is, my parents never even pleaded or encouraged me to do law as they believed fervently that each individual has their own unique gift therefore their own original path. As much I did love law and I would encourage many to pursue a law degree, there is more to me than my degree and my educational attainment. By my late teens I was working in Sierra Leone’s top law firm and consulting on a regular basis with the best private consulting firms, but there did not feel anything overtly extraordinary about that. So many people I have met over the course of my young life, simply cannot believe that I have already graduated, entered the labour force market and am now undertaking a Masters at the London School of Economics as well as a Programme for African Leadership. Yes I have done amazing things, but I say this not out of arrogance but out of pride as I am one of many young people on the African continent breaking continental records and becoming pioneers in their respective fields.
How did we get here? Well it starts with joy. Not me but the actual feeling of joy. By that I mean that feeling of ecstasy that consumes one when learning. I was born in Nigeria, but soon moved to Sierra Leone and lived most of my life there. I became notorious for being hungry for that feeling through asking way too many questions. I wanted to know everything about anything. It was a persistent and deep desire for knowledge. Maybe it started with the fact that I was born a girl in a part of the world where many did not have high expectations for my gender. Or the fact that being female also elicited a tired narrative of being a helpless victim who requires white saviours and a truck load of foreign aid money, that would never actually be spent on my wellbeing. But also, it could have been my age; being young in any part of the world makes older generations roll their eyes.