South Africans can now use customised emojis that fit in with our cultural diversity. These unique emoticons are called “emojus” and they can be found on OjuChat.

What are Emojus

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Emojus on the OjuChat app. Photo: Supplied.


Emojus were introduced by Oju Holdings through its messaging platform, OjuChat. The emojis are visual emoticons that are built into the program.


They allow different races and cultures to "celebrate and be celebrated." OjuChat is a “fully functional, hyper-localised and culturally diverse messaging application.”


The app brings South Africans, and Africans as a whole, “a dash of colour with region specific and culturally appropriate communication tools to Android users.”

Emoticons to cater for “real people”

Emojus: Afrocentric emoticons for a 'culturally diverse' nation_2
Emojus on the OjuChat app. Photo: Supplied.


Oju Holdings came up with the emoticons to cater for “real
people” and celebrate “their differences.” The Oju Holdings team explained
their mission thus:


“It is our ability to celebrate our differences, along with our own need to empower people to express themselves freely through the use of visual content that aligns to their own individuality, which has driven the creation of the platform.” Oju Holdings


The company added:


“As global citizens, our diversity is our strength and we believe that inclusion is the key to unlocking that strength, especially in an increasingly digital world. All people experience emotion and we all smile in the same language – OjuChat will be the platform that connects us through our diversity.” Oju Holdings

OjuChat's features

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Emojus on the OjuChat app. Photo: Supplied.


OjuChat was set to be the next step in the evolution of the Oju app, which was initially released in 2014. The word “Oju” means “faces” in the Yoruba language.


In its original state, the app contained 74 emojus, which
were shareable across other messaging platforms. At the time, it was downloaded
almost 200 000 times.

Oju Holdings launches its Android prototype


On 9 October 2019, the company released an Android prototype
of its full messaging app. OjuChat has over 4 800 unique emojus and a sticker
section.


All additions will be added dynamically, meaning app updates
won't be require every time something new is introduced. With the app, users
can message each other normally.


It also includes voice, video and picture messaging, message
delivery notifications, attachments, group chats, and profile management. OjuChat
also boasts end-to-end messaging encryption.


This ensures that messages can't be intercepted. Being peer-to-peer
means messages go directly from sender to receiver without going through the
company's infrastructure.


Oju Holdings revealed that it could make any emoticon that
the market wanted. The company also shared that its team was working on adding
voice and an iOS
version.


They stated that OjuChat aimed to “humanise digital
communication with real, contextual and relevant content.” The app is now
available for download in beta through the Google
Play Store.