Hollywood superstar, Idris Elba OBE, went back to his roots as he spent some time travelling to Africa, which included a visit to Ghana, where he met with the president, Nana Akufo-Addo, as well as attending the first Akwasidae of the year - a 40-day traditional occasion observed every six weeks in Asanteman – at the Manhyia Palace.
With his wife, Sabrina, by his side, the London-raised star of ‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom’ was very much part of the country’s traditional Akwasidae – a historic milestones in the Ashanti Kingdom, which pays homage to the Ashanti King, Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II and Queen mother Asantehemaa Nana Konadu Yiadom III.
With both a Ghanaian and Sierre Leonean lineage, 50-year-old Idris, who is also celebrated for his starring role in the award-winning BBC drama series, Luther, appeared resplendent in his typically Ghanaian kente - a ceremonial hand-woven cloth - as he was reportedly followed by a camera crew as part of his upcoming film which highlights the need for the building of international-level film studios in the country, as well as attracting more filmmakers to West Africa as a whole.
In sharing a video of his meeting with the Ghanian president to his Instagram, Idris said: “We've studied the models of obviously South Africa's incredible incentive package, and around Europe, obviously, Greece, Morocco, these are all places where they realize the value of the filmmaking dollar and have brought that policy into play.”
“It would be very beneficial”, he went on to say, “for us to show and to make an announcement to the world that Ghana is open for business, here are the steps, the policies are in place, and we have actually, bringing a film to our country, and we are going to put our money where our mouth is.” He also told the Ghanaian president that he intends for his current film to be a proof of concept.
According to a presidential aide, Elba – who has always illustrated his passion for helping the world's poorer countries through investment - is said to also be planning to open a film studio in Tanzania, after holding initial talks with President Samia Suluhu Hassan. This after meeting President Samia on the side-lines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He even went further calling for investment to help all the world's poor at the opening ceremony.
At the World Economic Forum, Idris and Sabrina were both honoured for their work on environmental conservation, food security and climate change.