To mark African Union Day today (May 25), pan-African social media platform NewComma has created a sticker pack of gifs based on African phrases.
The gifs are housed on Giphy, and serve to announce the integration of Giphy for the NewComma web app. Each is based on a word or phrase in Pidgin English, a mixture of English and local African languages that enables communication through a shared set of words and phrases. Since many African countries comprise numerous different ethnic groups, Pidgin English forms a common language of sorts to help various regions speak to one another.
NewComma aims to offer a social media platform that “reimagines the talent directory” for African creatives to display their work, connect with other creatives and build relationships with businesses in Africa and the rest of the world.
Pidgin English is widely spoken across countries including Nigeria, Ghana, Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon; though each region has its own distinctive elements as English becomes mixed with various different languages. While Pidgin English is a popular way of communicating across the continent of Africa, there’s little in the way of graphic digital tools such as gifs to use it online, which NewComma dubs the “digital divide.’
NewComma has also released a series of translations for the sticker pack. Among the phrases included in gif form are ‘your head die!’, a phrase used in Ghana meaning ‘you’re not smart’; ‘hayi’, meaning ‘no way’ in South Africa; ‘yebo’, used across various African regions as ‘yes’; and Kaa Shiver, another pan-African pidgin phrase denoting ‘don’t worry’.
“As more Africans develop an active social media presence, the need for them to be represented on the channels that facilitate these interactions is more prominent,” says NewComma. “With Giphy as the world’s largest gif database, NewComma’s intention with this sticker pack is to contribute to creating an even more diverse space on Giphy for Africans globally across all social media platforms.”
The five creatives who have designed the gifs hail from across the African continent, and comprise Kipkirui Clement and Bridget Wainaina from Kenya; Kamo Frank from South Africa; Kaz Aninkorah from Ghana and Amina Gimba from Nigeria.
The sticker pack has launched with a suite of 15 gifs, with more to be added in the future, and can be found by searching for NewComma on any Giphy searchbase.