My Tribe is Creative AF: Meet Olympian Hafsatu Kamara

The Summer Olympics are happening and I am excited!  As a kid, I remember the excitement of watching the opening ceremony and looking for two teams, USA and Sierra Leone.  Why both?  Well, both are important to me.  I am an American, born in the USA, but my parents immigrated to the USA from Sierra Leone.  I am also a Sierra Leonean. Right?  In my opinion, I am both.  I celebrate both and I love identifying with both.

For me, it’s simple, but there is an ongoing discussion about identity as a First-Gen kid. Like many, my parents like to make it very clear that I am American with African parents, while my American friends love to emphasize how African I am because I have African parents and I look really African, even if I was born in the same hospital as them .  What should we claim?  Why does it matter so much?  Well, it matters.  Indulge me and read on…

Meet 2016 Olympian Hafsatu Kamara

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Hafsatu Kamara, 2016 Olympic Contender for Team Sierra Leone, West Africa.  Hafsatu Kamara, a first-generation daughter born in the USA with parents from Sierra Leone, Hafsatu will compete at the 2016 Olympics in Rio for Team Sierra Leone.

As a First-Gen kid, Hafsatu’s passion for Sierra Leone is one that many of us First-Gen kids identify with and appreciate.  To many, Sierra Leone is known to many as the little West African country that endured a long civil war in the 90s as a result of government corruption around a precious stone called the Diamond. The aftermath of the war was damaging to the economy yet, progress was beginning to happen.  Then in 2014, Ebola showed up, and things took a turn for the worst.  In conversations with peers, we tend to agree that it is tough to be Sierra Leonean.  Our story is riddled with turmoil.  However, despite all of this, Hafsatu decided to represent the country of her parents. As a role model who has recently garnered the attention of many, I asked her to share some of her thoughts about her journey to Rio and the importance of representing Sierra Leone at the Olympic games as she competes for the Gold Medal in Track and Field 100m dash competition.

Miss GK:  How long have you been a runner/sprinter?  What event(s) can we expect to see you participate in this summer?
HK: I’ve been running track competitively for about six years now. It’s a short period of time in track years. I will be running the 100m dash at the Olympics.
Miss GK: How active were your parents in supporting your passion as a track and field athlete?  Are you able to relate to the “African Parents” memes or was your experience different growing up?
HK: African parents are African parents; unique and one of a kind. My parents are supportive of my dreams with the notion that I will be a doctor after my track career is over, of course. I relate COMPLETELY to the “African Parents” memes! I can always count on my mother’s sarcastic response when I asked to eat something else other than rice or my father’s lack of seeing any other occupation worthy of his acknowledgment other than doctor, lawyer, or prime minister of the world. It’s because of their goals for me that my expectations for myself as an individual are high. I appreciate their teachings and my upbringing now even more than ever.
Miss GK:  What was it like to lose your first event (if that has happened) and what motivated you to continue to pursue your passion?
HK: It hurt. But in any sport, especially track and field, a lose doesn’t necessarily mean a bad performance. You could hit your personal best time in a race and end up last. Motivation cannot solely rely on win or lose; rather if the goal set for yourself that day or that meet has been achieved.  My motivation is improvement. My goal each day is to execute just a little better than yesterday; push harder, lift heavier, and run faster than my previous self.
Miss GK: Tell me how it felt when you learned that you qualified to compete in the 2016 Olympics.

HK: It really didn’t hit until I was on the plane from Houston to Rio. I was appreciative of all the well wishes and positive feedback but I couldn’t understand the magnitude until I was on a flight full of theory Olympians. We were all heading towards one goal, traveling the same road and it was then that I realized, I was on that road with them. That’s when Hafsa realized, “Oh crap, I’m an Olympian!”.

Miss GK:  What made you decide to compete for Sierra Leone versus competing for USA?  Have you dealt with any negative feedback?

HK: I decided to compete for Sierra Leone because I am Sierra Leonean. By that I mean, though I was born in the US, I was raised as a Sierra Leonean citizen. Krio was the main language spoken in our house, cassava leaf was the daily dish, and Emerson was that dude whose music everyone in the house knew word for word. So there was no decision to make, rather an obligation to fulfill.  I have received so much positive feedback from the Sierra Leone community, my US family and friends, and supporters all around the world. Everyone has been so encouraging, it catches me by surprise every time someone wishes me well.

Miss GK:  How can people support your journey at the Olympics?
HK: By tuning into my social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram which all have the same tag of @HafsaKamara. I want everyone to engage in this journey with me.
Miss GK: What is one thing that you wish more people knew about you?

HK: That I am just Hafsa. Nothing about my personality or who I am has changed. No matter what I do or achieve in life, I will always be just Hafsa.

Miss GK: Freestyle!! (Anything that you want to share that was not asked?)
HK: I have EIGHT siblings! We all live in different parts of the US but we proudly represent Sierra Leone and the Kamara Clan as we call ourselves.
Miss GK: What type of impact do you want to make in Sierra Leone?
I want to continue encouraging others to more out of life. I want young Sierra Leone athletes to feel pride in represent their roots. I want our parents to be proud of the directions Sierra Leone is headed. I want our Mama Salone to feel peace and hope after all our troubles.

Check back here for the follow-up interview when Hafsa returns from Rio! Go Hafsa!

As Hafsatu competes for the Gold Medal, let’s support her and Team Sierra Leone as they compete at 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.  Created by a team of First-Gen Sierra Leoneans, you can purchase the official 2016 Olympic Games Team Salone commemorative shirt.  A portion of sales will help fund Hafsatu’s future endeavors to develop Athletic Camps for young athletes in Sierra Leone with a #SALONEDREAM. 

Follow Hafsa as she competes for the GOLD for Sierra Leone on all social media platforms @HafsaKamara.


~Miss GK~

Published by I Am Gayima.

Author, Flourish or Die (AMAZON.COM) Instagram: @flourishbook Co-Founder of Amyang Fashun™ , A Lifestyle Brand Instagram: @amyang_fashun Executive Director of I Am Gayima. A Marketing Hub. Instagram: @marketinghub_iamgayima Co-Founder of Passport2Zuri, An African Travel Brand Instagram: @passport2zuri

5 thoughts on “My Tribe is Creative AF: Meet Olympian Hafsatu Kamara

  1. Go Go Go HafSatu The Good GOD his with you you make us proud as Sierra Leone Go for the Gold My Sister every Sierra Leonean his with you we will pray for you all in the name of Jesus👏👏👏👏👍👍👍👍


  2. May the Almighty allah continue to help and protect you from bad enemies. Hafsa goodluck on your journey, I wish you success.


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