African American rapper and actor Ludacris has gained dual nationality and become a Gabonese citizen.
His wife Eudoxie Mbouguiengue is Gabonese.
In an Instagram video of the moment he acquired citizenship, posted to the social media site on Monday, he said: “I just became an official citizen of Gabon, of Africa.”
While flashing his new passport, he joked: “I am a loyal citizen of Zamunda, I mean Gabon. This is the greatest day of my life, and Wakanda, all of that.”
Zamunda is a fictional, wealthy, African country in Coming to America, a 1988 comedy film about Crown Prince Akeem Joffer, played by Eddie Murphy, and his trip to the US. Wakanda is a fictional country in sub-Saharan Africa featured in Marvel Comics and popularised in the film, Black Panther.
Ludacris, whose real name is Christopher Brian Bridges, rang in the New Year in Gabon with his family.
In the Instagram video, he confirmed his mother and two daughters also received Gabonese citizenship.
He also took to Twitter to share the news, writing: “Starting my new year off with dual citizenship. Africa, I’m official!.”
Fans celebrated the move, with several saying: “Welcome home.”
Ghana’s ‘Year of Return’
Last month, Ludacris uploaded a selfie to Instagram from Ghana, wearing a Year of Return T-shirt at a “male slave dungeon” in Cape Coast – a site built by Europeans where victims of the slave trade began brutal journeys across the Atlantic.
In the caption, he wrote: “Our ancestors never gave up Faith. You can never imprison our minds nor our spirits. They empowered me to Return. I have completed the cycle and I’m beginning a new Cycle. The Chains have been Broken and the indomitable resilience of African People Triumphs.”
The Year of Return, 2019 was an initiative of the Ghanaian government to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of a group of Africans to Virginia. August 1619 is often remembered as the start of the slave trade in the US.
Ghana, which in 2001 passed the Right to Abode law, which granted descendants of enslaved Africans the right to stay in the country, hoped to encourage more Americans of African ancestry to visit the country.
In August last year, Robert Morgan Mensah, head of education at the Cape Coast Castle dungeons, told Al Jazeera: “We don’t classify them as tourists or visitors. We say they are on a pilgrimage to their ancestral land where their ancestors were taken from. We recognise them as our own.
“Anytime [Africans from the diaspora] come, they come with emotions; whatever they have read about, they want to see it in the form of empirical evidence … When they come and listen to the story, they weep.”
The slave trade stripped millions of Africans and their ancestors of their identity.
Recently, diaspora Africans and African Americans have been increasingly researching their family histories.
US actor Samuel L Jackson received a Gabonese passport in August last year having traced his origins back to the Benga people in the West African nation, following a DNA test on a US TV show.