Idris Elba and his wife have been granted honorary citizenship in his late father’s homeland of Sierra Leone.
Sierra Leonean authorities gave diplomatic passports to the British star and his Canadian wife Sabrina Dhowre, asking them to serve as “brand ambassadors” for the country.
While Sierra Leone is home to chimpanzees, pristine beaches and surfing, the country is more widely known as the scene of a brutal war in the late 1990s, depicted in the film Blood Diamond.
Change the narrative of Sierra Leone from a war-torn and Ebola-affected country to a country that is full of investment opportunities and one of best destinations for tourism
Rebounding tourism was then badly hurt again by the 2014-16 Ebola epidemic that killed nearly 4,000 people in Sierra Leone alone.
On Friday, President Julius Maada Bio had breakfast with Elba and his wife.
The leader encouraged them to help “change the narrative of Sierra Leone from a war-torn and Ebola-affected country to a country that is full of investment opportunities and one of best destinations for tourism”, a presidential spokesman said.
Elba, 47, was raised in the UK by his Sierra Leonean father and Ghanaian mother.
The actor, best known for his roles in The Wire and Luther, was named Sexiest Man Alive in 2018 by People magazine.