graphic designer o’plérou grebet has designed a series of ‘african emojis‘ that reflect the culture of his home country, ivory coast, and the wider region of west africa. in a bid to combat mainstream media’s inaccurate depictions, he has created more than 370 designs that portray contemporary african life.

o’plérou grebet designs 'african emojis' to reflect the culture of his country

keke napep are a popular mode of transport in nigeria

 

 

o’plérou grebet has called full set of emojis are ‘zouzoukwa‘ – which means ‘picture’ in bété, the language of the bété people from the south-western ivory coast. available to download from the play and app store, they can be used on whatsapp as stickers or standalone images. so far, they have been downloaded more than 100,000 times, 10,000 of which were in the first three days.

o’plérou grebet designs 'african emojis' to reflect the culture of his country

zaouli is a mask dance created by gouro tribe in côte d’ivoire

 

 

in 2018, grebet set himself the challenge to create one new addition to his african emojis every day, covering topics that included food, music and transport. his designs include a plastic teakettle sold in senegalese markets, traditional percussion instruments, and ‘garba’, a popular ivorian meal consisting of semolina and fried tuna.

o’plérou grebet designs 'african emojis' to reflect the culture of his country

waving or twirling white handkerchiefs while dancing is custom in ghanaian, togolese, and nigerian cultures, especially in wedding celebrations

 

 

another object that originates from his home country is the zaouli, a mask and a traditional dance of the guro people of central ivory coast. he also depicts ‘keke napep’, a popular mode of transport in nigeria; kita or kenté, a colorful loincloth worn in the southern regions of present-day ghana; and mémorial gorée-alm, a slave trade memorial on the island of gorée in senegal.

o’plérou grebet designs 'african emojis' to reflect the culture of his country

shaku shaku, a popular nigerian street dance style

 

 

grebet’s designs aren’t official emojis, because they have not been approved by the unicode consortium, an organization that reviews and approves new designs. he is currently working on a submission to the body. honoring the many facets of african tradition and its contemporary condition, he wants to travel to more african countries, discovering their cultures, and turning them into african emojis.

o’plérou grebet designs 'african emojis' to reflect the culture of his country

varients of the indigo plant species are indigenous to west africa and the source of traditional dyeing techniques in the region

o’plérou grebet designs 'african emojis' to reflect the culture of his country

the kita or kenté is a colorful loincloth,and a traditional garment of the akan people, a meta-ethnicity living in the southern regions of present-day ghana. 

o’plérou grebet designs 'african emojis' to reflect the culture of his country

the independence monument, built as a tribute to togo’s independence from france on april 26, 1960

o’plérou grebet designs 'african emojis' to reflect the culture of his country

mémorial gorée-alm, a slave trade memorial on the island of gorée