ZOUZOUKWA:

Promoting African cultures on the blockchain

Foutou, Oud and Hairstyle emojis. The foutou emoji shows three mashed plantains in a plate, the Hairstyle emoji show a black girl with her hair styled like antennas, and the oud emoji shows a string music instrument.

What is Zouzoukwa?

Zouzoukwa is a project at the intersection of art, design, culture and technology.

It started as a challenge on Instagram in 2018, where I posted a new emoji representing a cultural element of Africa every day. At the end of the challenge, I released an app to make the emojis usable as stickers on WhatsApp.

Every week, a new theme was explored (Food, Traditions, Objects, Places…) to show the diversity and wealth of African cultures, different from the negatively stereotyped Africa portrayed by the media.

The project was positively appreciated, and even attracted the attention of international press: The Guardian, The New York Times, CNN, BBC, El País, Le Monde.

Foutou, Oud and Hairstyle emojis. The foutou emoji shows three mashed plantains in a plate, the Hairstyle emoji show a black girl with her hair styled like antennas, and the oud emoji shows a string music instrument.

The Need to go Further

After releasing the app, I realized that Zouzoukwa can expand far beyond the original scope of the project. Here's why:

• Most of the emojis I created represented West Africa
• My main source of information was the Internet, and social media was not the best way to learn cultural elements
• I was the only one in charge of representing cultures I didn’t belong to

Basically, I was the only one building a community project.

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Foutou, Oud and Hairstyle emojis. The foutou emoji shows three mashed plantains in a plate, the Hairstyle emoji show a black girl with her hair styled like antennas, and the oud emoji shows a string music instrument.

Discovering Web3: NFTs, Social Tokens & DAOs

When I found out about Web3 and the new internet economy, I saw it as exactly what I needed to build the next steps of my project: a community-owned collaborative platform, backed by a social token.

The project is about promoting cultures. Cultures don't exist in a vacuum, they are related to people. Zouzoukwa should be built with the communities involved & people interested in culture, and all the value it creates should be returned to those people.

This is why I'm releasing all the original emojis I created as an NFT Collection on Rarible to fund the next steps of the project.

The Rarible page of Zouzoukwa

Characteristics

Custom ERC-721 Token

A custom token, Zouzoukwa (ZZK) was made to contain all the NFTs in the same "folder"

Single editions

Every original emoji will be released as a 1/1 NFT

Token Reward

Every collector will be rewarded 10,000 $ZOU per ZZK collected

Why get an emoji?

In addition to supporting me as an artist, you're investing in Zouzoukwa. Purchasing an emoji will help guide the direction of the project, and will help build the platform, promote the project, give back to the community by making social initiatives and so much more.

How much do they cost?

The Genesis NFT was minted on SuperRare and sold for 0.5Ξ. But the starting price of each emoji will be 0.365Ξ.

The Future of Zouzoukwa?

I hope Zouzoukwa will become an ecosystem built by the community. Here is how I see the future of Zouzoukwa:

• A collaborative platform to share emojis ideas and the cultural significance of these ideas;
• A dApp to reward the contributors with the project's token; and
• A DAO with the token holders to make decisions about the evolution of the project.

Nothing is set in stone — these are just some of the ideas I have — but I think the project can grow into something I haven’t thought of... and this is why I need your help & participation (:

FAQ

  • What does "Zouzoukwa" means?
    It can be translated to "image". It's a word in Bété, my mother tongue.

  • How and when will the NFTs be released?
    I released the first week of the project as open bids, but the next batches are going to be auctions. Stay tuned (: 

  • Can I participate if I'm not from an African country?
    Of course! Even if the collaborative part is aimed toward people from/living in Africa, building the project and buying art doesn’t require a particular origin.

  • What do you mean by collaborative?
    The platform will be built by different people — The Zouzoukwa community. For example, once an emoji idea is shared, I will create the emoji after collaborating with the community to understand the significance of the idea. Then the emoji will be published and given a page, and the community will be able to add pictures/videos to it, write articles about it.

  • Is Zouzoukwa a good investment?
    The representation of African cultures in technology is not something often explored, that is why this project is so important to me. The success of a project depends on many factors, but I believe Zouzoukwa has a lot of potential. The decision is for you to make.

  • You talked about a social token..?
    Yes! I'm working with Roll to issue the token that will be used to reward investors & contributors. They’re updating their infrastructure and smart contracts, and $ZOU will be available at the end of the process.

  • Who are you?
    My name is O'Plérou  and I describe myself as a "creative explorer between art, design, culture and technology." I love to merge my different interests into creative projects to see what happens, and Zouzoukwa is one of them (:

© Copyright 2021 — O'Plérou Grebet.

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