article by Hadassah Egbedi via venturesafrica.com
“No worry yourself”, “Bigz boyz”, “E make brain”, “Any better?” These are common slangs in West Africa, particularly used by Nigerians. Slangs keep conversations fun, easy and real, one of the major reasons behind the creation of Afro Emoji. “We, as Africans, definitely have a distinctive way of communicating with one another and Afro Emoji is a fun, graphic depiction of that,” say the creators.
Afro Emojis are African-themed stickers or “modern African hieroglyph” as described by the creators, a Washington D.C based company, iManagement Consulting. This unique range of emojis was launched a day ago on google play and iOS and is available for free download. What’s more? They are customizable and can be used on any social media platform, Blackberry Messenger, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Google hangout and Skype.
With the increased conversation around inclusivity and diversity, coupled with the fact that emojis have become a standard part of social conversations especially among younger mobile consumers, major brands and social media platforms like Apple and WhatsApp have made efforts to introduce emojis with a variation of skin tones.
“Diversity is not about skin color. It’s about embracing the multiple cultures out there that have no digital representation,” – Alpesh Patel
Although these are steps in the right direction, the mere introduction of different skin tones won’t do, as people are more drawn towards characters that are relatable. In this case, iManagement Consulting is making the necessary efforts to bridge this cultural gap in digital representation by introducing characters that represent Africans, with the hope that they will become “part of Africa’s conversation currency.”
Afro Emojis are not about the characters alone, but also the language. The traditionally decked characters come with common captions including “Abeg no vex’, “My Oga at the top”, and “See Linda tinz.” Afro Emoji launched on Google Play Store and the App Store with 50 free characters, and in-app sticker purchases at $1.99 for over 300 stickers.