What are Emojis?
Originally meaning pictograph, the word emoji literally means “picture” (e) + “character” (moji). The characters are used much like ASCII emoticons or kaomoji, but a wider range is provided, and the icons are standardized and built into smart phone and other mobile handsets. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably seen how typing in colon/dash/end parens displays as a happy face on text messages and social media sites.
Well now, Black emojis have arrived. Recently, Apple executives said they would work on getting emojis of color. But Africa couldn’t wait. Oju Africa, a division of African mobile company Mi-Fone, released 15 emojis this week on the Google Play store.
“We follow global trends but we are differentiated by our authentic African voice. So as a brand we wanted to do something that only Africa could pull off, something that could become so iconic that it would have the world talking. I believe what we have created will ensure that every African on the planet won’t be able to help but love it!” Eserick Fouché, the creative director of Oju Africa, told International Business Times.
Accordingly, Oju translates as “face” in the Yoruba language of Nigeria. The emojis, which are similar to Apple’s yellow smiley face, are available now for Android (search for “oju emoticon app” in the Play Store), and will be released soon for iOS.