Chiwetel Ejiofor is opening up about losing his father Arinze in a car accident at age 11 in a candid new interview.

Ejiofor, now 44, speaks to British GQ about being in the car with his dad driving along the highway in Nigeria, when their vehicle collided with a truck.

Ejiofor, who had been left with broken bones and in a coma, was the only one who survived. He now has a scar from the accident across his forehead.

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The actor says: “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 realize 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.

“I don’t know if it was due to my father passing away, but I have gaps in my knowledge that I have to acquire for myself as I go through the journey of life.”

Chiwetel Ejiofor. Credit: Sharif Hamza
Chiwetel Ejiofor. Credit: Sharif Hamza

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Elsewhere in the interview, Ejiofor talks about the success of his 2013 film “12 Years A Slave” and how he believes it led to certain films being greenlit.

“[Its] overall cultural significance was incredibly powerful and continues to resonate,” he shares. “There’s an argument that part of the success of ’12 Years’ led to the decision to push forward ‘Black Panther’.”

He also discusses the progress made in the fight for racial equality, telling the mag: “It’s going to take a sustained generational effort to deprogram 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 May issue of British GQ is available via digital download and on newsstands on May 3.

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