It has been an enlightening journey for popular African American actor and activist, Samuel L. Jackson, since he discovered his ancestors were from the Central African Republic nation of Gabon. It’s been a soul-searching moment for Jackson since he found his roots. He has since met with the President of Gabon, Ali Bongo Ondimba, and his wife, Slyvia Bongo Ondimba, after the discovery. The producer has also made a trip to meet the king of Benga, the tribe that the DNA testing connects him to.
The American docu-series that employs traditional genealogical research and genetics to trace the ancestry of individuals, established the actor belonged to the Bantu tribe of Gabon. Bantu people speak diverse Bantu languages that encompass hundreds of indigenous ethnic groups in sub-Saharan Africa. They inhabit parts of Central Africa to the African Great Lakes and Southern Africa, according to the Guardian Nigeria.
The self-realization of his roots, according to the actor, has reshaped his perspective about his own self. This was deepened even after his encounter with the monarch of his tribe, as he noted on his Instagram page, he seems to have been spiritually connected to his own. It is one he describes as “an uplifting exercise” that has offered him the rare chance of connecting with the tribe his ancestors hailed from.
During his trip to Benga, the experience of being embraced by people who had links to his ancestors and had the likelihood of being his relatives was refreshing. The Hollywood icon said he felt a lost son had returned home after initiation rites were performed for him when he returned to his ancestral home.
When asked about his experience on The Daily Show by Trevor Noah, Jackson said the opportunity of having grown on a different continent and rising to the top means that irrespective of where one finds themselves, one could reach their fullest potential. The cultural identity he was exposed to has revived a sense of purpose in him.
Samuel L. Jackson is among the highest all-time box office stars with over $6.9 billion total US box office gross, an average of $87.5 million per film. He is known for playing roles in blockbusters such as Django Unchained (2012), A Time To Kill (1996), Pulp Fiction (1994), The Hateful Eight (2015), and Unbreakable (2000).
He is leveraging his personal experience to rally the world around to learn more about the history of the transatlantic slave trade. Jackson has sought the expertise of divers from “Diving With a Purpose,” a group of African-American divers and historians who look for wrecks related to the slave trade to help him archive slave ships that were sunk during the slave trade.
The team has done some work in the Florida Keys, and it is expected to give history lovers and other African Americans a sneak peek into the cultural legacy of Africa, according to CBC News.