o’plérou grebet designs ‘african emojis’ to reflect the culture of his country
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
varients of the indigo plant species are indigenous to west africa and the source of traditional dyeing techniques in the region
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.
the independence monument, built as a tribute to togo’s independence from france on april 26, 1960
mémorial gorée-alm, a slave trade memorial on the island of gorée
ndebele house painting is a style of african art practiced by the southern ndebele people
roasted plantain, a popular food staple across africa
the ‘balai’ is a broom made of stiff fibers
‘ségridaga’, a plastic kettle
‘garba’ is a popular ivorian meal consisting of semolina and fried pieces of tuna
‘peigne afro’, an afro comb
a ‘djembe’ or ‘jembe’ is a rope-tuned skin-covered goblet drum played with bare hands, originally from west africa
‘dambe’ is the traditional martial art a martial art of the Hausa people from northern nigeria to west africa
kieron marchese I designboom
feb 04, 2020
designboom | architecture & design magazine