Chidiebere and Chidinma Aneke, identical twins, tell ’Nonye Ben-Nwankwo of The Punch about their lives and acting careers.
Chidinma: Our dad had always wanted us to be wearing the same type of dresses. He would take us to the market and buy the same kind of clothes for us. Whenever he didn’t find two dresses of the same type, he didn’t buy any.
He is now late. Our mum is still living, but unlike dad, she doesn’t like us wearing uniformed dresses. Although she wouldn’t mind that we wore the same style of dresses, she would prefer that we wore different colours of them.
Chidiebere: Growing up was fun. We played a lot of pranks. Chidinma and I collected the same school fees from dad more than once. I could collect the school fees and go back to my dad to tell him that it was Chidinma that had collected it. Similarly, she could go to him, collect the fees that I had collected again and make him believe that I was the one he earlier gave the money.
Chidinma: Our father was not able to differentiate between the two of us till he died. My mum just found a clue for differentiating between us recently, but her guess wasn’t always right. We have no birth marks or moles that may be used to spot the difference between us. When we were younger, if I fell and got wounded, Chidiebere would go and make the same mark on her body on the same spot where I had the scare on my body. That way, any mark you found on my body would also be on her body. Our elder sister is the only person who could actually differentiate me from Chidiebere. We always go out together. Our lifestyles are the same. I love the same things that she loves.
Chidiebere: Both of us attended the Institute of Management and Technology, Enugu. I studied Business Administration, Chidinma studied Mass Communication. Unknown to them, Chidinma sometimes collected money for course materials from my colleagues, while they assumed that I was the one they gave the money to because I was the Class Rep. Later on, when they asked me to give them the materials they had paid I would go through my list and tell them that they had not paid. But it soon dawned on me that they had paid my sister in error of identity. I knew my sister had played her pranks again. When I asked her why she didn’t remit the money she collected from my mates, she would say comically that the people simply came to ‘dash’ her money and she collected it. We attended the same higher institution and played pranks there. It was terrible.
Chidinma: I usually took such money as ‘manna from heaven.’ Sometimes my sister’s classmates would ask me if there would be exams that day, thinking that she was the one they were speaking with. Sincerely, I would answer them based on my class schedule that there wouldn’t be any exam. Unfortunately, when they would get to school sometimes, they would discover that they had exams to write. Is it my fault that they took me for my sister? In another instance, someone could ask me if there would be lecture and if I wasn’t going to have a class, I would simply answer no. But somehow, I do know that such people took me for Chidiebere. The unfortunate thing is that when the person who had spoken with me gets to the class and finds out that they had lectures she would be mad at Chidiebere, wondering why she had lied that there was no lecture.
Chidiebere: It is our prayer that we get married to twins, but God’s ways are higher than our ways. We would really love to marry identical twins. As for when we would be getting married, the Bible says ‘He that finds a wife finds a good thing.’ The Bible didn’t say ‘She who finds a husband finds a good thing.’ The husbands will find us and not the other way round. However, our prayer is that we get married on the same day. If God stamps it, we would appreciate it as that is our hearts desire. When the time comes, we would let everybody know about it. How can I marry and my sister will be in the house or she gets married and I will be in the house?
Getting into acting
Chidinma: As she said, only God that knows the final destination of all human beings. Whatever he directs one to do is what should be done. I have passion for acting. I am always happy acting. My sister has the same passion. Our elder sister was already an actress before we started out. Somehow, some people saw our photograph and decided to invite us. We didn’t even go through an audition for the movie. They just added to the cast. We did some movies before we stopped. My mother didn’t like the idea that we hadn’t completed our studies. She ensured that we were done with schooling before she allowed us to continue with our acting career. She now loves what we do. She is so happy with us.
About being producers
Chidiebere: We do not only act, we also produce movies. We are based in Enugu but that doesn’t affect our career. God has not permitted us to leave Enugu, to Lagos. Wherever one is, God can still promote and elevate him. We only came down to Lagos to work and to release our new movie. We have some other things we want to do but we don’t want to talk about that now. In all, we just follow God’s direction. Our new movie is calledNational Experience. We have to tell the world what National Youth Service Corps members go through during their service year. Some corps members’ see their National Service year as a period to prostitute, join band gangs and do terrible things. During my service year, a corps members died when she was going for ‘runs.’ But some corps members are also serious-minded. The movie portrays everything about NYSC scheme.
Chidiebere: I served in Osun, while my sister served in Oyo but we were always together. I did a project while I was serving; I won the best Corp member award. But it was my sister that represented me at the awards ceremony. She was the one that collected my award. I made sure that she knew all the people I knew. I taught her the song we were to render that day. The day the governor came, I was very busy. She had to represent me. Somehow, somebody asked her the course she studied in school; she almost said Mass Communication before she remembered she was representing me and quickly said Business Administration.
Chidinma: Ah! We quarrel a lot. We still fought this morning. That is what makes us human. We argue a lot, but we settle the issues immediately. We usually argue over trivial issues.
We are born again Christians
Chidinma: We are 100 per cent born again. We are not ashamed to call ourselves born again Christians. We were badly hit by our father’s death but God assured us that he will be our father. We have never been in lack since then.
Why we are not in many movies
Chidinma: Most times we reject scripts because we have some other things doing. Sometime ago, Chidiebere was given a script but she rejected it. The script contained some naked scenes and she said she wouldn’t like to act such a movie. If our programme in church clashes with a movie production, we choose the church programme. It is not in all movies that they cast the two of us. At times, she gets a role and somehow, I will be the one to act some of the scenes but nobody will know. She might be busy with other things. I will just step in and play her part. If she is given a script, we usually study it together.