Technology is fast-growing all over the world, and Africans are not left behind in any dimension. O’Plerou Grebet, a 21-year-old Ivorian student, brings the feel of Africa to the emojis world by creating over 350 downloadable African emojis. African can now relate to certain emotions.
The African culture-driven student, through his invention known as ‘Zouzoukwa African emojis’, has raised eyebrows on social media. The fast drawing to the journey of inventing over 350 downloadable African emojis back in January 2018 caught the attention of internet users and attracted over 1000 likes on Instagram.
Grebet got the inspiration from the need to embrace Ivorian culture and link it to the society of today and every day. According to Grebet, the idea came to him suddenly while having a conversation with a friend via WhatsApp.
“Seeing all the smileys embedded in the application, I thought I was missing some to describe our Ivorian realities, to make our jokes. And I could create it myself!” he explained.
Since the creation, Grebet had collaborated with different brands and recognized by African Digital Communication Days when he received the Young Talent Award. First, he has collaborated with the French Channel Cannal+ and Ivorian brand of clothing and accessories. The French Channel Cannal+ has used some smileys on the social network during the football World Cup, which took place in June and July. Imalk Concept, the Ivorian brand of clothing and accessories, has embraced and used Grebet creative smileys on bags.
Grebet ambition to embrace African culture and create that which fellow Africans can relate to is because of the never-ending will to attain the end goal. In his interview, he explained, “I won two awards for my creation. The next step for me after Zouzoukwa, his to learn about 3D and virtual reality to create filters and find a new way to pay tribute to the African Culture.”
He also mentioned his favorite emotion of them all while being interviewed by BBC Africa.
My five favourite emojis are the Bissap (hibiscus juice) bag. It is the most beautiful to me. The point-point, a game I played when I was younger in school, you have: You saw that? we say this a lot in Ivory Coast, Senegal’s ‘Car Rapide’, I never took it but I love its design and the Afro brush for my hair.
Through the app Zouzoukwa African emojis, O’Plerou expresses the African way of life. Immediately one opens the app, and he meets a plethora of African emojis and stickers via the application — the emojis range from African facial expressions, architectural mountains, traditional costumes to African dishes.
When asked, Grebet said his biggest dream was to;
Create an application through which zouzoukwa can be used by anyone on a phone. And why not, one day, whether they are directly integrated with phones or in applications such as WhatsApp, Telegram or Facebook Messenger. There, finally, the loop would be buckled.