By Ahmad Muto
On Saturday, June 3, 2023, Hollywood actor and UNESCO special envoy for peace and reconciliation, Forest Whitaker wound up his African trip. On his socials, he shared a photo on a plane leaving but stated that he will be back soon.
“Heading back home! It has been an incredible trip through Europe and Africa. Looking forward to coming back soon!” he wrote.
In May, news about his presence in the country circulated on social media shortly before it emerged he was in the country to among other activities oversee the undertakings of the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI). The bug for peace bit him here in Uganda in 2006 when was filming multi-award-winning film, The Last King of Scotland when he came across victims of the LRA war in northern Uganda.
“It was wonderful to be able to return to WPDI’s roots in Uganda yesterday, where my journey for peace all began in 2006!” he wrote on Twitter on May 24, 2023.
On May 25, 2023, he paid a courtesy call on Susan Namondo, the UN Resident Coordinator to discuss sustainable development, empowerment of youth and women.
On May 27, he crossed the border to neighbouring Rwanda to be a part of the NBA Africa’s Basket Africa League finals in Kigali. There he also met the NBA Academy Africa Players where he spoke to them.
On May 31, he met with retired NBA player and President of the South Sudan Basketball Federation, Luol Deng. He shared a photo of them together with the caption, “Thank you for the great lunch yesterday, Luol. I was impressed by your commitment to empowering youths of South Sudan through basketball, but also academic education. Your foundation is doing a great job, I’m looking forward to a partnership with WPDI!”
Forest Whitaker has since 2006 visited Uganda several times, and has kept a low profile most times.