When it comes to the use of big, big words, no Ghanaian actor can beat Pattington Papa Nii Papafio aka Oesophagus.
He is the only person who can say, for example, “ I’m changing my trajectory of isopose to my temporary place of domicile to cause a thermathetical repress” to mean “I am leaving my permanent home to my temporary residence to rest”.
Since his role in the Taxi Driver television series, which introduced him to fame due largely to his expansive vocabulary, nobody calls him by his real name Henry Harding. Everybody calls him Oesophagus and not strangely, most people he meets in real life expect him to speak his trademark big, big English.
“I am not comfotable with the kind of expectations people have whenever I am in town. People expect me to use big words in normal conversation and when I don’t, they sometimes get upset because they feel I have snobbed them”, he told this reporter last Monday.
According to Oesophagus, although he likes using big words, he does so only when he is playing a character in a play or movie or a commercial.
“I only use big words when I am acting so I don’t expect people to feel bad and pass “silly” comments about me.
“You cannot meet a lawyer or a professor and expect him to start using words connected with his profession. It is about time I make it clear to people that Oesophagus is only a character I played in Taxi Driver,” he said.
Talking about how he came by his vast vocabulary, Oesophagus revealed that originally, he fancied becoming a lawyer and so he read a lot of novels during his days in school.
“I started what we call ‘chewing’ by memorising words from the dictionary and from the African Writers series. I had somehow concluded that to become a good lawyer, one had to be powerful with words. So I actually started building my word power. That was how I picked this up,” he added.
According to Oesophagus, it was Emmanuel Appiah of Revele Films who discovered him and gave him room to operate.
Talking about how he came by the name Oesophagus, he said he was ill during the recording of one of the Taxi Driver series. When he recovered, he said that the sickness nearly affected his esophagus and thereafter Osofagus became his nickname.
Osofagus disagreed with a suggestion that his popularity as an actor was taking a dip. “Anyone who says Osofagus is not popular does not know what he is talking about. “My Oesophagus Kingdom series have been running on four different television stations. Aside the hosting of events and ceremonies, I also appear as a sports panelist on some radio stations”
Aside the Taxi Driver series that many people know him for, Oesophagus who had his primary education at St. Martins Preparatory, Mamprobi in Accra and then continued at Bagabaga Middle School in Tamale, has played in other television series such as Hotel St. James, Home Sweet Home and Akan Drama.
Married with four children, Oesophagus disclosed that he and director Emmanuel Appiah plan to release other television series soon.