Movies and Memes: The Return of Aki and PawPaw

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Aki and PawPaw are a huge part of our childhood, they made our stomachs ache with laughter and our eyes tear with glee. Everyone had a copy of their cassettes or CDs at home on standby, ready for a good time and needed for a bad time to be forgotten. Osita Iheme and Chinedu Ikedieze gave us all  memorable childhoods and adolescent years. Slapstick comedy in Nigeria has a long list of pioneers; Sam Loco, Nkem Owoh, John Okafor, to mention a few. These actors dedicated their lives to the craft, although these actors are only spoken about individually, but Aki and PawPaw go together in every conversation, similar to the yin and yen. The duo have a unique feel and mechanism to delivering characters they portrayed, their jokes and antics were exceptional. Their ingeninuity in movies such as; Okkwu na uka, The Tom and Jerry, Charge and Bail, School Dropouts  and the iconic Aki na Ukwa will forever be  remembered by Nigerian. Aki went on to star in a family sitcom called The Johnsons whilst Pawpaw starred in movies as well.

Years after their dedication had made them a legacy, clips and pictures of their past work resurfaced as memes. This process was quite subtle at first, with the memes being a thing only the Nigerian Twitter community understood, an inside joke with an air of nostalgia. The context, the memes were being used suddenly came relatable globally, in 2019 a new level of engagement was received by the memes. Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty used one of PawPaw’s videos accurately. Genius used the same clip to explain a J. Cole line. Instantly he was crowned the meme king. 2020 brought even more fame to the duo, all together as their reactions in the memes seemed to elucidate how the pandemic and lockdown took a huge toll on everyone. These cosigns by Fenty Beauty and Genius introduced another means of communication, and Aki and PawPaw were the center of it all.

On the 6th of May 2021 Osita Iheme posted on his Instagram, tagging Chinedu Ikedieze with the caption “How far Edu? Just over here soliloquising. I just see DM and old clips everywhere. Guess is time to answer the call of nature and drop something. How you see am?” Less than a week after. Filmhouse announced a new movie coming to cinemas soon. The title read Aki and PawPaw. Following a long hiatus, news of the duo’s return is received with anticipation and excitement, what are we to expect?

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