Home

You Can Now Download The New African Emojis, Created By This 21-Year-Old

By Kelsey Marie

Share

O’Plerou Grebet is a 21-year-old from the Ivory Coast who saw a huge problem with emojis and did something about it. Grebet noticed there were no emojis that Africans could specifically relate to, leading him to create Zouzoukwa African emojis

After having a conversation with his friend on WhatsApp, Grebet recalls to Le Monde in 2018.

“Seeing all the smileys embedded in the application, I thought that was missing some to describe our Ivorian realities, to make our jokes.”

Luckily, his parents are very supportive of his creative ventures and wanted him to “follow his passion.” He’s since created 350 downloadable emojis with cultural references to West Africa. 

He spoke to BBC saying, “Basically, my idea was to create emojis so Africans can have emojis they can relate to.”

He shared the first emoji on Instagram of a plate of cassava and plantain and it was met with great reception and over 1,000 likes. 

When talking about his inspiration for the different emojis he says, “Everything I see around me, on a daily basis, inspires me. I draw for a very long time, alone in my room, first on paper and then on the Photoshop software.”

Grebet has been quite busy, winning the Young Talent Award in March at the Africa Digital Communication Days, and having his emojis featured on social media during the World Cup in collaboration with the French channel Canal+ this past summer. 

Zouzoukwa may only be available on Android devices right now, but Grebet wants to “create an application that allows Zouzoukwa to 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.”

He shared his five favorite emojis with BBC:

The Bissau (Hibiscus Juice Bag)

The Point-Point

View this post on Instagram

#Zouzoukwa N°247 : Point-point

A post shared by O'Plérou Grebet (@creativorian) on

A game he played when he was younger in school.

‘You Saw That?’

A phrase commonly said in the Ivory Coast.

Senegal’s ‘Car Rapide’

View this post on Instagram

#Zouzoukwa N°304 : Car rapide 🇸🇳

A post shared by O'Plérou Grebet (@creativorian) on

Grebet simply loves the design of the car rapide.

The Afro Brush

The described shy Grebet says “The next step for me, after Zouzoukwa, is to learn about 3D and virtual reality, in order to create filters and find a new way to pay tribute to the African culture.”

Share
Travel Noire

Kelsey Marie

Kelsey-Marie is an NYC girl who currently lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. You can keep up with her on Instagram at @kelseydashmarie

Want more?

Get exclusive, unpublished tips from Travel Noire's CEO to help you get off the beaten path, into the hearts of locals and onto a better, more cultured life.

You Should Travel To These 6 Destinations Now Before Everyone Else Does

You Should Travel To These 6 Destinations Now Before Everyone Else Does

Travel is becoming more popular amongst millennials, resulting in an influx of tourism in locations like Bali, Madrid, and Cape Town. There are, however, destinations that are still under-the-radar and perfect for travelers wanting to travel to places unknown.  Travel expert and writer Patricia Schultz spoke with Insider on how social media has aided in […]

Kelsey Marie

African Travel Adventures That Are Perfect For All Generations

African Travel Adventures That Are Perfect For All Generations

Traveling with family members can be a challenge due to varying ages and interests. Baby boomers may be into something totally different from Millennials and Gen Z, causing a clash of the generations. If you want to have a seamless vacation with the fam, heading to the African continent is always a good idea.  Africa […]

Kelsey Marie

The Ultimate Africa Packing Guide

The Ultimate Africa Packing Guide

What you pack for a trip has the ability to make or break your experience.  Packing for the perfect trip to Africa is truly an art form. The key is to think about your trip and bring exactly what you need so you’re no bogged down with too much stuff. Below you’ll find the perfect guide […]

Parker Diakite