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Africa Development

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Ambivalence and Activism: Netizens, Social Transformation and African Virtual Publics

YZ Ya’u

Abstract


Despite the fact that Africa is the least connected continent on the internet,
the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) is becoming
pervasive and deeply embedded in social and political relations. They are
impacting on the way citizens live their lives and relate to both the state and
other actors in the society. In this process, some citizens are becoming
‘netizens’. Cyber networking, which has been facilitated by access to ICTs,
has given rise to a public sphere that is virtual. This paper explores some of
the key issues relating to the development of ICTs in Africa and the social and political processes they have spawned in their wake. It is argued that while the virtual public is not unique to Africa, its manifestations, organisational modes, and concerns in Africa are informed by African conditions, both in terms of the specific issues addressed and the wider context of technological deficit that the continent faces.



AJOL African Journals Online