Lovetta sits outside of her home this afternoon. She explains her work and its duties, then looks at photos of her parents and shares memories of them.
I’m a secretary at the Magistrates' Court, working under my boss—Magistrate Ishmael Kamara. I enjoy the work and frequently issue remand warrants or bail bonds. During cases I sit and take notes so we can remember what people have said.
I received the job after sitting an examination and interview. We were more than one hundred applicants from different provinces, with each district sending two people. I understood the work so they chose me, and this has been my job for eleven years.
My mother is Nyava, and her name means “she’s there for us” in the Mende language. She lived as a housewife and farmer, planting a small garden in the swamp and selling whatever she could harvest—okra, potatoes, cassava, and leafy greens. My father married her after she initiated into the Bondo secret society. She’s still alive at around ninety years old.
My father, Sellu, served as the Paramount Chief of Kakua Chiefdom in Bo District when I was a little girl. His family encouraged him to contest for the position because many in the chiefdom liked him. He would sit with people as they explained their arguments. Then he’d settle everything between them. I looked on in amazement, impressed by his wisdom. I think this inspired me to work in the Magistrates’ Court later in life.
Before his chieftaincy, my father lived in America for about twenty years and served in the United States Army. He would tell us stories about his service during World War 2, in Italy I believe. I don’t really remember the stories in detail, as most of my older family members who know our history have died. They took our stories with them.