African languages are underserved on most stock keyboards as well as some third party options available. If you use the G-board as I did, you’ll become quickly frustrated even if you have the language option set to Shona for example. The predictive text is nowhere near good enough and in my case, G-board never understood compound words. There is however a relatively new player on the market called Bhala that has won me over when it comes to typing in my native Shona and the app now supports African themed WhatsApp stickers.
WhatsApp support of any kind is a really good thing for a company like Bhala because the messaging app is the most used on the continent. It also shows that Bhala is conscious of the needs of its over 10 000 users.
At present the WhatsApp stickers on Bhala are limited but I think this will change as more and more people start using the app. We all poach each other’s stickers on WhatsApp anyway so now anyone who wants to do it can do so on Bhala.
The one thing that I haven’t seen however are animated stickers, I think this is something that will come in updates to follow. On the point of updates, there haven’t yet been any new additions in the languages department.
Bhala currently has Shona, Ndebele, Xhosa, Zulu, Swahili, Setswana and Swati. However the description on the Google Play Store says that Sepedi and Sesotho are on the way soon.
You can check out Bhala for yourself with the link here and let me know what you think of it.
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A couple of months ago we had a chat with Bhala’s country director for Zimbabwe, Njabulo Sandawana to get more information about how Bhala operates and what they have in store for the future.