By The Making of Black Britain

Sandra

Listen to Sandra's story as part of The Making of Black Britain oral history project

Read

Sandra and friend, London (2021) by Vanely BurkeThe Making of Black Britain

Sandra

Sandra is of Ashanti heritage.
She was born in Britain.
Sandra moved to Ghana at the age of 4 and returned to Britain in her late teens.
She is Tobias' mother.

Sandra was interviewed for The Making of Black Britain on 29th July, 2021.

Sandra, London (2021) by Vanely BurkeThe Making of Black Britain

Sandra talks about her childhood
00:00

I had no idea that was supposed to be shipped off.

So my dad wanted me to go into, I think it was foster care, that there was, at the time a trend for African parents to send their children to white foster carers or guardians. And my mum said she had cried and cried and cried and cried, but he wouldn't budge...

Sandra's mum, Monica, holds Sandra, aged 11 months, London, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
,
Sandra's mum, Monica, holds Sandra, aged 2, Barbados, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
Show lessRead more

Sandra, London (2021) by Vanely BurkeThe Making of Black Britain

Sandra discusses racism in Britain
00:00

I used to ask black people, "Where are you from?"

Because in Ghana, that's how I was brought up. The English people were Anglo-Saxon, white. And no black person could be English. And in fact, they said they were English, then they were basically not respecting their heritage or not recognising their heritage.

Sandra talks about skin colour
00:00

My mother said, "I don't want her nose to be flat."

Because my mother still came from the ideology, which still exists today that, you know, your nose had to be aquiline. And you had to have very European features and be very light skinned to be considered beautiful. And I know there were times when I think she had said, “Oh is she really my child?”

Sandra, aged 4, London, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
,
Sandra, aged 16, Ghana, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
Show lessRead more

Sandra, London (2021) by Vanely BurkeThe Making of Black Britain

Sandra talks about her experiences with the police
00:00

We didn't have this attitude, that 'all policemen are bad'.

...my dad very much respected the police. He always felt that you should, you know, keep to the straight and narrow, don't get into trouble with the police. And if you ever have any issues with the police, be polite.

Sandra discusses pupillage and becoming a lawyer
00:00

I did put on a short skirt - I wasn’t going in trousers

I used to watch lots of legal dramas with my dad. And I think I mentioned before that he used to take me to court with him sometimes because I was very quiet - quiet as a mouse - and they would let me sit at the back. But he actually never said "you should be a lawyer." My dad always, in fact, he used to say the opposite.

Sandra, aged 24, Middle Temple, London, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
,
Sandra with her parents, Ben and Monica, London, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
Show lessRead more

Sandra, London (2021) by Vanely BurkeThe Making of Black Britain

Sandra talks about healthy eating
00:00

Eating well, this is a problem that black people have...

I mean, Ghana, when they say "do you want a salad?" when they give you a salad, oh my gosh. It's got baked beans in it. It's covered in salad cream, got enough processed meats to kill you with, salami, corned beef. I mean, the things they put in there and they say "salad"

Sandra at the gym, London, 2019, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
,
Sandra and her husband Holger, on their wedding day in London, 2014, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
Show lessRead more

Sandra, London (2021) by Vanely BurkeThe Making of Black Britain

Sandra talks about having a father
00:00

For me, it was such such a big impact.

Fathers tend to run off. You know, once another woman is calling, they forget about the children, sadly. I mean, not every father, but you know, generally, that's what happens. But I think if you've got a strong father figure, it makes such a difference in your life. 

Tobias and Sandra on Tobias' first day at university, 2021, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
,
Sandra and Tobias with Nelson Mandela, Mauritius, 2006, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
Show lessRead more

Find out more about Sandra and her family by listening to Tobias' story.

Credits: Story

 

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.