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Forest Whitaker launches young peacemaker initiative in Cape Town

The Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative has been running for only a few months and focuses on gang-ridden areas.

US activist Forest Whitaker is pictured with young peacemakers in Cape Town on 14 November 2019. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/EWN

CAPE TOWN – Award-winning Hollywood actor and social activist Forest Whitaker is in Cape Town on Thursday to empower young people.

The Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative has been running for only a few months and focuses on gang-ridden areas.

In August, BNP Paribas Group South Africa and RCS announced a five-year programme with the initiative.

Whitaker's initiative has started with 46 young people training to become young peacemakers.

They have been participating in conflict resolution and entrepreneurship programmes and will ultimately become "trainers of trainees".

Joseph Jacobs, who grew up in Delft and lives in Mitchells Plain, told Eyewitness News over the past few months he learnt a lot and is ready to assist young people in his community. He is concerned about gangsterism and school dropouts.

Whitaker has developed the Youth Peacemaker Network in South Sudan, Uganda, the United States, Mexico and now in South Africa.

Last week, he also sat down EWN to give us a glimpse into his new character Bumpy Johnson in the TV series Godfather of Harlem.

WATCH: ‘I’m excited about it’… Forest Whitaker on new gangster role