T&T born actor Winston Duke, celebrated for his role as M’baku in the ‘Black Panther’ movie, has been granted Rwandan citizenship.
Duke was among 23 people who were granted citizenship. His sister Dr Cindy M Duke was also among those who became naturalised Rwandans.
“Today is a truly auspicious and memorable day for me and my sister,” Duke tweeted. “Its our continental birthday.”
The brother and sister took their oaths before executive director of the Kicukiro District, Antoine Mutsinzi, who called on the newly naturalized citizens to learn Rwandan as it is the most widely used language in the country.
Duke made headlines recently as one of the gorilla namers at the 19th Kwita Izina gorilla naming ceremony.
During the event, he bestowed the name “Intarumikwa,” meaning “Resilient Giant,” upon a baby gorilla, paying tribute to his late mother’s conservation values.
“Intarumikwa translates to resilient giant. I know you may think that I may have chosen that name because of myself, but no. I chose that name in honor of a resilient giant in my own life. My dear mother that passed away last year, who as a single mother taught me the meaning of resilience.
“I am so proud and absolutely grateful for the work that Rwanda is doing in the space of gorilla conservation. To me, all of you and this beautiful country are also Intarumikwa. You are all shining examples from your history to the work that you are doing today and will continue to do. You are all resilient giants,” he said.
"You're all resilient giants."
Tobagonian actor, @Winston_Duke chose named a baby gorilla "Intarumikwa", which translates to "Resilient Giant" in honour of his late mother who instilled in him the values of conservation.#VisitRwanda 🇷🇼I #KwitaIzina🦍 pic.twitter.com/NSB1HlJ8Zr
— Kwita Izina (@Kwitaizina) September 3, 2023
According to Marvel Duke’s character in Black Panther was superhuman with extraordinary strength and a giant in size, capable of lifting up to 10 tons. The character also has enhanced endurance, agility, and durability. A natural fighter, his style was reminiscent of the gorilla.
In a special meeting held at Village Urugwiro on September 2, President Kagame received Duke, who also serves as a Partners in Health Global Ambassador, and his co-star Danai Gurira, actress and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador.
Born on November 15, 1986, in Argyle, Saint Paul, Trinidad and Tobago, Duke spent his formative years in Brooklyn, New York, where his family relocated when he was nine. The actor has garnered acclaim for his roles in blockbuster films such as ‘Black Panther,’ ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,’ ‘Us,’ ‘Avengers: Endgame,’ and ‘Avengers: Infinity War,’ among others.
Notably, he lent his voice and talent to ‘Batman Unburied,’ a scripted podcast produced by Spotify featuring iconic DC characters.
Duke’s journey through education led him to the University at Buffalo, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in theatre. Subsequently, he pursued a Master of Fine Arts in acting at Yale School of Drama where he graduated in 2013.