Chiwetel Ejiofor talks about his roots

Onyeka Ibeanusi  | Tuesday, 7 January 2014 | 803 Total Views

Cast member Ejiofor waves at a special screening of "12 Years a Slave" at the Directors Guild of America in Los Angeles

Nigerian born Hollywood actor Chiwetel Ejiofor hasn't forgotten his roots. He was on tour in Savannah, Ga. where he found a 19th-century slave pen, used to hold newly arrived Africans before they were sent to auction. Chiwetel said he noticed some bolts on the wall and asked what they were for, 

“I said to the guide, who didn’t know anything about my background, ‘What are those bolts in the wall? And he said, ‘That’s the extra chaining for the Ibos.’ And I said to him, ‘I am Ibo.’ ” 

The actor continued, “That’s when you are aware that you were there as well. That it’s your blood, that someone with DNA close to yours was right in the middle of that situation. You recognize that you were there. And that’s powerful.”

Born in London by Nigerian parents, Chiwetelu Umeadi “Chiwetel” Ejiofor, is a British film, television, and theatre actor. He has received numerous acting awards and nominations, including the BAFTA Orange Rising Star Award in 2006, five Golden Globe Award nominations, and the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor for his performance in Othello in 2008. He played Okwe in Dirty Pretty Things in 2002, The Operative in Serenity 2005, Lola in Kinky Boots 2005, Luke in Children of Men (2006), and Solomon Northup in 12 Years a Slave 2013.