American actress Tiffany Haddish is now officially an Eritrean citizen, the birthplace of her father who moved to the United States as a refugee before she was born.
Before this, Haddish identified as American with Eritrean parentage, but the citizenship will give her dual citizenship of both countries.
Haddish was born in the US, but she is no stranger to Eritrea.
In 2018 she visited the country to bury her father, Tsihaye Reda Haddish who died in the same year. She’s also currently in the country to celebrate its 28th independence anniversary on Friday.
In photographs shared on social media, Haddish can be seen draped in the Eritrean flag, while filling out forms with officials present.
Haddish has always shown pride in her roots. During last year’s Oscar’s ceremony, she graced the red carpet in a stunning Zuria gown, a traditional dress worn by women in Eritrea and Ethiopia. Her dress was topped with a Kaba, a cape-like ornament usually worn by Eritrean brides and grooms.
An Eritrean diplomat in the US confirmed Tifanny Haddish’s citizenship saying it happened at “a very touching moment of our independence week.”
Eritrea has begun its week-long celebrations of the independence of its Asmara people from Ethiopia after a 30-year war.
This year’s independence celebration is monumental as it’s the first time the country’s borders with Ethiopia is at peace following a resolution met by the leaders of both countries in 2018.
Eritreans have shown their support of Tiffany Haddish’s Eritrean citizenship on Twitter while voicing their hopes that Haddish will speak out against some of the regime’s more extreme acts.
Eritrea is often described as the “North Korea of Africa,” and has never had a national election. There is no free press, and citizens are not allowed to leave without an exit visa issued by the government.
Forced national military service, which is supposed to last 18 months, can last indefinitely.
A Human Rights Watch report from 2017 stated that “physical abuse, including torture” occurs frequently for people taking part in national service. “…so does forced domestic servitude and sexual violence by commanders against female conscripts,” it adds.