When it comes to the use and love for big words, no Ghanaian actor can surpass Pattington Papa Nii Papafio. NEWS-ONE caught up with him to explain his love for vocabulary and also reveal a few unknown facts about him.
It was surprising to know that Pattington Papa Nii Papafio aka Oesophagus actually wanted to be a lawyer during his school days and his name is not Papa Nii but rather Henry Harding.
He is best remembered for his hilarious role in the ‘Taxi Driver’ television series but he has starred in several other television series including but not limited to ‘Dada Boat’, ‘The Arthurs’, ‘The Adoteys’, ‘Adults In Education’, ‘Home Sweet Home’, ‘Hotel St. James’ and ‘Multi Kolours’. NEWS-ONE first asked Papa Nii where and why he has being in hiding:
Papa Nii: I would not say I’ve been hiding per se. I’ve been mostly on radio these days. I’m with Happy FM doing sports and we’ve been doing Happy Sports on both Happy FM and ETV. But I suspect you have not seen me in recent times because I have declined most of the scripts I get. I am currently working on my new production, ‘Oesophagus Kingdom’ and that has been my concentration and reason for declining other scripts. We’ve shot the pilot and it would hit the screens soon, most likely in four weeks time.
NEWS-ONE: Tell us about it
Papa Nii: Well, you should be expecting to see King Oesophagus and his subjects shining through the religio-politico-socio-economic-impetus and doing things that occur in everyday life. I believe the time has come for me to really super-impose myself in the industry and that is why we have been working tirelessly with Emmanuel Apea, the first director of ‘Taxi Driver’ and the producer of ‘Home Sweet Home’.
NEWS-ONE: Why do you use big words?
Papa Nii: Do I?
NEWS-ONE: Sure you do.
Papa Nii: Then maybe I am not conscious of that actuality.
NEWS-ONE: There you go again
Papa Nii: Ha ha ha ha haha. Oh well I would say that the credit should go to Emmanuel Apea because when we started ‘Taxi Driver’ and I was part of the cast, that was when I introduced a few verbalistic opulence into my lines but he actually encouraged me to go ahead and today it has become an accepted brand.
NEWS-ONE: You think it is an accepted brand.
Papa Nii: Oh yes. At least for now it is accepted. You were laughing when I released a few words, meaning you like it. When people stop appreciating it, it would come to a halt. I believe there is much that we can do out of it so very soon I would make sure that I excruciate my aggressitivity and pontificiously reach my capacity so that I will be able to economically circumvent. Oh you are still laughing. Meaning you also like it just like many Ghanaians still do.
NEWS-ONE: How do you get the words?
Papa Nii: Almost everyone wants to know about this. I would say I did not know that there would be a need for it one day. I was a man of words when I was in school. I read a lot. During our days, the African Writers series was very popular and I can say I read over 50 of such books aside my text books, examinable ones and several other novels and articles and plays. Even in form-two, I started what we call ‘chewing’ by memorizing the dictionary because I had wanted to become a lawyer and I had fancifully concluded that to become a good lawyer, one had to be powerful with words. So I actually started building my word power. That was where and how I picked this up.
NEWS-ONE: Tell us about your school days
Papa Nii: I was acting right from my primary school days through my middle school days. I started at St. Martins Preparatory, Mamprobi in Accra, then I continued at Bagabaga Middle School in Tamale then I did my O’s at Ofori Panyin in the Eastern Region and then A-Levels at St. Johns in Sekondi.
NEWS-ONE: You were a touring student
Papa Nii: (Laughs very loudly) Not that per se but I am just realizing it now that you have said it. And basically I was acting all along at the students’ level. Then I later went into directing until I was later called from retirement by The Royals, a theater group. In fact, when we started ‘Taxi Driver’, a good number of the cast was from Royals. But these days, actors do not want to go onstage. They do not want to do theater.
NEWS-ONE: You did some broadcasting as well
Papa Nii: Oh yes. When I went out of acting, I was doing broadcasting at the GBC, during the days of Nii Thompson, and that was also the early days of Sports Beats. But all the credits really go to Emmanuel Apea, I should repeat that. He did very well by bringing all those characters together.
NEWS-ONE: Tell us about your life outside the screens.
Papa Nii: Well some of them are not for public consumption. Basically I am a Christian and fellowship with Lifted Yoke Ministries and we meet at Korle Gonno in Accra. I have four children; three boys and a girl. The eldest is about 25.
NEWS-ONE: Wow. You must have started early
Papa Nii: Not really. Where do you place me?
Papa Nii: Ha ha ha ha, you have taken about 10 tears from my age. I am rather 50-something. So if my first child is around 25, I think I started not too early or not too late. There was a need to start somewhere so I started when I started (continues laughing)
NEWS-ONE: Final words?
Papa Nii: Well I would like to thank my fans for supporting me over the years and ask them to have confidence in their God-given talents. I want to tell them that confidence is inspired by the remoteness of calamities and by the proximity of sources of encouragement.
NEWS-ONE : Thanks for your time
Papa Nii: Oh don’t mention because it is my responsibility to express gratitude for this verbal intercourse which would be transformed and chronicled into a comprehendible narrative.
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