Áfàméfùnà: Young Paulo Chidera David Speaks on Leaving Tech for Nollywood, Portraying Nwaboi Role

  • As discussions about the recent trending movie Áfàméfùnà: An Nwa Boi Story continue to flood the internet, TheTalk.NG took a moment to chat with one of its young leading casts, Chidera David
  • Chidera played the role of the audacious, ever-loving Young Paulo, which was later taken over by Alexx Ekubo
  • In this interview, he opened up about the weight of portraying a vital story of the Igbo society, killing it on his major Nollywood debut, and how he intends to build this crystalising fame

Áfàméfùnà is the latest Nollywood blockbuster currently sitting at the number one spot on the renowned streaming platform, Netflix Nigeria. 

The movie delves into one of the intricate aspects of Igbo society – their love for business and hard work. It shows the co-existence of its people and how established entrepreneurs invite younger men (referred to as ‘boi’) to train and mentor them in a specific entrepreneurial venture by either business or vocation.

Áfàméfùnà: An Nwa Boi Story, Young Paulo from Áfàméfùnà: An Nwa Boi StoryMeet young Paulo from Áfàméfùnà: An Nwa Boi Story movie.
Credit: @deraafricaSource: Instagram

After a certain period, these young individuals are “settled” with capital to start a similar business line. In the long term, the former apprentice, who is now a boss, takes on their own ‘boi’, passing on the gained skills and profession, and the cycle continues.

This apprenticeship system has been a significant part of Igboland for decades, dating back to the slave trade era. Generations have passed on their cultural norms and values.

Chidera plays Young Paulo in Áfàméfùnà, one of the ambitious young apprentices (umu bois) working for their wealthy Igbo master Odogwu (a character portrayed by Kanayo O. Kanayo). 

He is tenacious and stubborn, traits that will sadly spell his doom when Odogwu moves to give freedom to a younger apprentice he guides through the challenging environment.

Chidera David, an upcoming actor, has always aspired to tell stories like this one. Something close to home that accentuates the strength of his people.

“Me being an nwaboi, I had to calm down and survey what people who serve their masters do, especially Igbos. How do they act, how do they relate to customers, and all? My God! The Igbos are exceptional in their businesses. 

“My father, too, is a businessman. He has an outlet in Lagos Island Market. There was a period when I followed him to the market for a while, and our neighbours were Yorubas. I observed the way my dad communicated with his customers. He is willing to sacrifice anything just to get you on the first day so you can come next time. And when next they come, and any price he tells them, they buy it. Because he has made them feel that this is home, come to home and relax and get whatever you want.

“I learned a lot from my dad. So, yeah, it helped me understand my role, at least I have experienced it a bit.”

Born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, Chidera hails from Anambra state Idemili, North Umuoji. The first of three siblings, he is a graduate of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko (AAUA), Ondo state, with a BSC in computer science.

Chidera has had a passion for acting since his university days but was keen on pursuing his career in tech. Being the first child in an Igbo home, he needed a path he was sure of and didn’t want to face the gamble in the showbiz world. 

“My father wanted me to leave the country for the United States to continue with tech. It was one of his biggest dreams. Seeing his first child become a tech pro in the US. He tried several times to do that, but due to some uncertainties, it didn’t happen. I had no choice but to pursue what I had always wanted for myself.”

The young actor began hunting movie auditions and made background appearances in films such as Merry Men and MTV Shuga series season 5. The majority of the time, he wasn’t called back until January 2023, when the breakthrough came, and he was selected as one of the cast members for Kayode Kasum’s Áfàméfùnà.

“It became a reality. You know when you get to showcase what you are designed for. To leave your original self behind to display different characters,” Chidera said.

On landing the role of Young Paulo, Chidera said that after he passed the audition stage, they all had to do a monologue on each of the characters.

“That was where the director picked the person he wanted for each role,” he said.

“He was like, yes, this is the person he is looking for, and he would love to work with me on this particular project. I was overwhelmed, and couldn’t believe it.

“Then when I saw that I was co-acting with legends like Kanayo O Kanayo, Stan Nze, and Alex Ekubo, it gave me ginger to do more. I look forward to getting to their level of achievement. It was a blessing in disguise.”

Young Paulo describes the relationship big Paulo had with Amaka

He chuckles. “Well, they were doing their teenage experience at the initial stage. They were both into each other. If not, it wouldn’t have amounted to what they had as adults. They both loved each other but the issue there was the heartbreak Paul got from Odogwu. Paul was expected to be settled before Afam. So that was like a contradiction. On a normal day any human being would feel the pain, that what was meant for him was taken away from him and given to someone he trained around a difficult tasking environment.”

Regarding Odogwu’s decision to settle Afam before Paulo, the vibrant upcoming argued that Odogwu should have approached the situation differently.

“He should’ve settled Paul before Afam.” Then maybe, if he wants to settle Afam, he can do that in a bigger way. More than what he did for Paul due to the huge favour brought.”

The Igbo apprenticeship model and how it keeps spreading wealth

Chidera notes that the Igbo apprenticeship was based on the natural intelligence of the Igbo people, who did not receive any formal education to establish it.

“They just knew that if I had this biro, for instance, how would I make that biro turn into 20 pieces. They move out and meet people. It looks easy in the eyes of others, but it’s never easy. Igbos are relentless.

“They look for other people’s children to bring into the game and show them how it’s being done. It’s like a moving circle; that’s why you can never bring down the Igbos business wise. No matter how hard you try, it keeps circulating,” he said.

More aspects of the Igbo culture should be portrayed in Nollywood 

Aside from the Igbo apprenticeship model, there are other practices in Igboland that Chidera believes will create rich plots in the Nollywood scene.

“We should tell versed stories about our festive periods, like the New Yam festival and all. The deities our four fathers worshiped Why are masquerades a part of the Igbo culture and other aspects of our omenaala.”

Speaking of his source of inspiration, Chidera found it hard to mention a particular actor as one he adores more than the others. He believes that Nollywood is blessed with many good role interpreters, that he might miss out one of his faves in a mention.

However, he spoke about popular American filmmaker JJ Abrams of Star Wars and his lens craft.

“He made me understand the beauty of filming,” He said. “From him I learnt that when you are making a film, there’s always more to the story, where you break down the details of how it all started and take your audience on a particular ride.”

Are there other movie projects Chidera David is working on?

He was zestful and full of ticking potential as he spoke about several upcoming film projects in the pipeline. One of them was also produced and directed by the cinematic brainbox for Áfàméfùnà.

“After working with Kayode Kasum on the set of Áfàméfùnà, I had the opportunity to collaborate with him on another unreleased project. I also have a couple of movies on the way.

“Get ready for me. I am coming out with fire, not relenting on this,” he said.

Source: TheTalk.NG

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