‘Grief Is Something You Live With Forever’ – Chiwetel Ejiofor Discusses Losing His Father In Car Crash In Nigeria When He Was 11
Nigerian/British actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor has discussed losing his father, Arinze, in a car accident at the age of 11. The actor, 44, who was visiting his home country at the time, was in the vehicle with his dad when they collided with a truck while driving along a motorway in Nigeria.
Speaking to British GQ, Chiewetel said: ‘Grief is something you live with forever in different ways, when you lose a parent young, it has a profound effect on the way you view life. ‘At an early age you realise the value of some things and the preciousness of life itself, which is something most people acquire later on. ‘Certain fears or neuroses you definitely carry. Some are justified but you do lose a lot of ideas about knowledge.’
The film star also discussed his critically lauded performance in the 2013 film 12 Years Slave, which saw him nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor. He said: ‘[Its] overall cultural significance was incredibly powerful and continues to resonate.
There’s an argument that part of the success of 12 Years led to the decision to push forward Black Panther.’ Speaking on the progress made in the fight for racial equality, Chiwetel added: ‘It’s going to take a sustained generational effort to deprogramme these ideas of racial hierarchy, but BLM has been a very successful campaign to get the west to think in a certain way.
‘And a lot of the west has tried to remove some of that programming. But it’s a long and arduous process because certain people cling to it in a very fervent way.’ The actor was also asked about his thoughts on nationalism, where he compared the nation state to a ‘football team’. He said: ‘These things are not things to fight over. They’re not things to kill over.
They’re not things to destroy other people and their lives over. ‘They are simply inherited labels that are ultimately completely meaningless.’ Ejiofor was born on July 10, 1974 in London to Nigerian parents of Igbo descent who moved to the UK in the wake of the Nigerian civil war. His father, Arinze, was a doctor and his mother, Obiajulu, was a pharmacist.