NKOLE NKOLE and MATTHEWS KABAMBA, Lusaka
NOLLYWOOD stars Chinedu Ikedieze and Osita Iheme, popularly called Aki and Pawpaw, last weekend held successful sold-out shows in Kitwe and Lusaka.
The pair were headliners at Kitwe’s Mukuba Mall on Friday, and on Saturday, they again entertained a crowd at Lusaka’s Mulungushi International Conference Centre (MICC).
Organisers of the show referred to the crowd in Kitwe as the biggest they had seen for a comedy show.
Most comedy shows are held at the Kitwe Little Theatre which seats under 300 people, but Friday’s show drew an audience of 1 500 people.
The Kitwe show was anchored by the dancer, Popo, while supporting acts included the group 408 Empire of the Chilepule Baby fame and the boy rapper, Dizmo, who recently found fame when a video of him rapping went viral.
But if the frequency of applause from the audience is anything to go by, then it was an average performance by the Nigerian duo. Local comedians Bob Nkosha and Collins “The President” Zulu seemed to have a good day at the office.
Collins impressed the audience with his Bwana Njombe. From mimicking President Edgar Lungu to telling a few jokes about Bowman Lusambo and his ‘fight’ with Roan Member of Parliament Chishimba Kambwili at Parliament, Bwana Njombe delivered a masterpiece.
But the main act belonged to Aki and Pawpaw.
Still, they delivered a 30-minute long play about an unhappy couple that unknowingly flirted with each other on social media.
Using a pseudo account, Aki the husband chats with a supposedly tall beautiful girl who he plans to one day meet and take her for a holiday to visit the Vitoria Falls in Livingstone.
Unknown to both, they were chatting with each other but only discovered when they agreed to meet in person.
The play ends with Aki advising patrons against abusing social media and to be wary of some of the contacts they have.
And there was some music too; young rapper Paul Mwansa, aka Dizmo, performed the tune that brought him to fame.
In Lusaka, comedian Dangerous Joburg was MC while artistes Exile and Ruff Kaida came on as supporting acts.
Bob Nkosha, who was one of the show’s organisers, said the show was aimed at pulling a crowd that they do not usually get.
After Nigerian actor and comedian Ukwa dated Zambia in September, collaborations between Nigerian performing artistes and Zambian performing artistes are being seen as a way to draw a diverse crowd to local shows.
And just like the Ukwa show, the Aki and Pawpaw show attracted an audience of various ages from different walks of life.
Bob himself warmed up the stage alongside Collins Phiri and Bikiloni, sending the audience into fits of laughter while everyone awaited the unveiling of the night’s headliners.
Aki and Pawpaw spilled their charm on stage while also sharing their infatuation with Zambian women, and overall, had great audience engagement.
Wild excitement swept through the room as fans of the Nigerian stars watched them on stage in living colour.
Some appeared mesmerised at the sight of the two actors who they have come to know and love through their TV screens.
Nigeria’s film industry, Nollywood, is said to be the second largest employer after agriculture, and associations such as the Comedians Association of Zambia (CAZ) see entertainment as a solution to Zambia’s economic diversification.
The comedians, together with other artistes, are calling for the establishment of art schools where artistic talent in music and film can be honed.
“What the country needs is for the government to create an institution specifically for the arts,” Bob said, emphasising that Zambia needs to focus more on non-traditional exports for an economic boost.
He cited Nigeria as a country with systems and schools that support the creative arts industry.
And with the addition of new TV channels following Zambia’s digital migration, Bob said more local content is needed for Zambia to become a film industry competitor in the region.