Your trusted place for Sierra Leone and global news
HomeGlobal“I want to be positively remembered as a warrior for his people” – IW

“I want to be positively remembered as a warrior for his people” – IW

“I want to be positively remembered as a warrior for his people” – IW

Hollywood Actor Isaiah Washington is a veteran of Spike Lee movies. He has starred in several of his movies. He has won several awards including the NAACP Image Award for portraying Dr. Preston Burke in his most popular TV Drama series “Greys Anatomy”. (Photo: Isaiah Washington shakes hands with Sierra Leone’s President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma)

After much accomplishment, the father of three traced his ancestral roots through a DNA test to the Mende and Temne people of Sierra Leone in West Africa. He travelled to Sierra Leone in May 2006 marking the beginning of his charity work and was granted Sierra Leonean citizenship, making him the first African American to be granted full citizenship based on DNA. A year later the Gondobay Manga Foundation, which seeks to improve the lives of his people, was born.

Washington has granted interviews to CNNs Larry King and popular talk show host Oprah Winfrey. In this exclusive interview, Washington talks to AFRICANEWS reporter Murtala Mohamed Kamara on many issues…drawing most of his responses from his new book titled: ˜A MAN FROM ANOTHER LAND: How Finding My Roots Changed My Life”.

Q: What was your first reaction when you learnt that you had gained Sierra Leonean citizenship?

ISAIAH WASHINGTON (IW): Well…as I sit here in the TGMF office completely numb yet elated, I am at a loss for words. Minister Zainab Bangura has phoned me from New York to “officially” tell me that I am now a citizen of Sierra Leone and that I need to send her two photos for the Sierra Leone Passport that awaits me in Freetown. I could go on and on about how much that phone call means to me. H.E. President Ernest Bai Koroma now goes down in history as the “first” African President to issue an African-American full citizenship based on DNA. Congrats to all who have been on this historical journey with me. Mission Accomplished. That said, I’m so moved right now that I am literally wiped out with the gravity of this new reality. Going home to my wife and kids to celebrate my “dual citizenship” with my family…One Love.

You earlier told ‘PEOPLE’ magazine that you found solace doing charity work in Sierra Leone after you were taken off the Greys Anatomy  Show.  What is the good thing about being a Sierra Leonean?

Making history as an African American accomplishing my “dual citizenship” based on DNA is a great thing. Finally, I have a people and a nation to connect with on the African continent to learn from and grow with as I have learned and grown in America.

What’s the latest about the GONDOBAY MANGA FOUNDATION.  Have you been getting the support you needed?

Donor Fatigue and the Recession have really impacted TGMF and thousands of other nonprofits severely. Luckily, I have been using my own money to fund TGMF from the very beginning. There have been some strong interest in TGMF and support from private donors, but no corporate support as of yet. I’m happy to report that as of March 2010 Rotary International has built two new water wells in Njala Kendema on the behalf of TGMF and the Foday Golia Memorial School is still educating children today since its opening on November 15, 2007.

You were once appointed as an Adviser to President Ernest Bai Koroma during a UN Summit in New York earlier. What did you tell the President then?

We finally boarded the train and Minister Zainab Bangura made sure that I sat directly in front of President Koroma. I was nervous, but I was determined not to show it or, at the same time, appear too confident. As the train pulled out of the station I could see that Minister Bangura and President Koroma were tired. I knew I had to make my case, and quick.

Before I could finish my spiel on the importance and historical significance of obtaining my dual citizenship President Koroma smiled at me and said:  “I understand what it is that you are trying to do and I support it. I am aware of W.E.B. Dubois’s teachings and I am of the same school of thought. I have had many ask me, ‘Why are you giving this man citizenship?’ and I say to them, ‘What are you all so afraid of?'” I sat there silent for several seconds and then said, “My sentiments exactly sir. Thank you for your time. I will shut up and let you rest.”

What’s your present relationship like with President Ernest Bai Koroma?

A very good one. He’s helping me reverse the Middle Passage.

How would you like to be remembered after you would have departed?

I want to be positively remembered as a warrior for his people or not at all.

You have gained recognition for your roles in Hollywood, especially among Sierra Leoneans back home. The West African nation has a youthful population who are more interested in entertainment/movies but the country is yet to benefit from the entertainment sector. Apart from providing education and shelter for less privileged kids, do you hope to support the industry soon?

Yes. I have dreams of building a Film and TV Studio in Sierra Leone, but that’s going to take some time. It will happen though. I’m hopeful.

What is the truth about the alleged homophobic statement you made which led to your being dropped from the Greys Anatomy series?

Refer to the transcripts for my interview on CNN with Larry King. It’s all there. It’s even on Wikipedia.

What’s your experience with Spike Lee?

I made four films with him, so I think it was pretty good!

What’s the best role you’ve played since you started acting?

Dr. Preston Xavier Burke.

You said your father was killed at age 13. How does it feel living without a father?

Fatherlessness is one of the most disconcerting things that any male child can experience. It’s just tough.

When are you coming home (Sierra Leone)?

Soon – very soon. (smile)

Interview courtesy of Mohamed Murtala Kamara, Africa News

Stay with Sierra Express Media, for your trusted place in news!

© 2010, https:. All rights reserved.

Share With:
Rate This Article
No Comments

Leave A Comment