Meet O’Plerou Grebet: Student who makes African emojis


Meet O'Plerou Grebet: Student who makes African emojis

O’Plerou Grebet, a student from the Ivory Coast was searching for stock images for his school project when it hit him that images of Africa only tell the sad stereotype.

Grebet was incensed by the available images which put a blanket assumption on the African continent as a continent entirely consumed by catastrophe.

”I noticed that media and most articles about Africa were talking about the bad sides of the continent only. They reduced the image of it to a land in war where people are poor and hungry. These elements are true but it’s not everywhere on the continent,” he said.

However, Grebet was not just going to be angry, he decided that he was going to do something about it and it is at this point that he decided that he was going to create emojis that give the continent a more positive outlook.

Since he could draw from his childhood, all he needed was the know how to take the art from the sketching book to the computer.

Grebet watched YouTube tutorials and after honing his skills with the Photoshop application, he decided in 2018 that he was going to create and post one new emoji on his Instagram page to the end of the year.

The success was instant as he got 2,000 more followers on his Instagram, only one week after starting the project.

He has even created an app called Zouzoukwa which means ”image” where one can find all the emojis that he has created.

That has also been a wild success with over 120,000 people downloading it on Google Playstore according to CNN.

His project has earned him recognition across the continent as it was nominated as the Best App of 2019 by the African Talents Awards which celebrates young Africans in the creative sector.

Grebet despite going so far is hitting the pedal harder with plans to tell a positive African story by creating accessories such as phone cases decorated with the art that he has created.

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Story By Duncan Mutwiri
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