Idris Elba to receive Sierra Leone citizenship on first visit

Idris Elba
Idris Elba said citizenship was “the biggest honour he could get”

Idris Elba is being given citizenship of his father’s native Sierra Leone.

The British film star landed in the capital Freetown on Wednesday for his first visit to the country.

Elba told the BBC’s Umaru Fofana that citizenship was “the biggest honour I could get from my country”.

“I’m no stranger to Africa: I’ve been in Africa, I’ve made films in Africa, I’ve championed Africa,” he said. “But Sierra Leone, it’s a very different feeling because it’s my parent’s home.”

An anonymous official from the Sierra Leonean government told AFP news agency the actor would be visiting Sherbro Island, renowned for its pristine beaches, before spending Christmas with President Julius Maada Bio.

He is also expected to go to the premiere of a movie about chimpanzees – Sierra Leone’s national animal – and to visit a chimpanzee sanctuary.

The government has said he also plans to invest in Bonthe Island, a tourist destination.

Elba was born in London in September 1972. His late father grew up in Sierra Leone, and his mother is from Ghana.

He is best known for his work in Marvel films, including the Avengers, as well as for his roles in Mandela and Sometimes in April. He was also named People magazine’s “sexiest man alive” in 2018.

The passport, Elba told the BBC, would allow him to “come back home as a son of the soil”.

Media captionThe moment Idris Elba proposed to his then-girlfriend (now wife) in London

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