[WSIS CS-Plenary] 'drilling down' into cell phone use
tracey at traceynaughton.com
Tue Mar 15 12:36:37 GMT 2005
On cell phones, to quote myself from current research into telecentre
• CELL PHONES
Cell phones as anywhere in South Africa are popular and the take up
rate in the village is widespread, despite the fact that many areas
have no reception. People often don’t have airtime, but make use of the
‘please call me’ function when they pass through a reception area. This
is not necessarily a request for the receiver to actually call – they
too may not have airtime, but is a way of saying hello, sending a
Though many people in Kguatswane (a village in Limpopo Province, South
Africa) can be described as functionally illiterate many are able to
operate a cell phone and recognise the language of cell phones.
For literate people, cell phone language shows up in the computer
training. For example instead of writing, ‘Let me tell you a story’,
people write ‘Let me send you a message’.
The arrival of the cell phone in this community was described as the
heralding of a new era. The area had been quite isolated during the
Apartheid era and traditional life went on. The cell phone, which one
only needed the ability to speak to use, and which had no wires, had
the ripple on impact of awareness of a world outside the village area.
An example was given of an older women who had been given money by her
father to provide for her grandsons. She was ready to purchase building
materials for a home, and cows, in order to establish them in the
village. The arrival of cell phones prompted her to consider other
opportunities for the grandsons and she funded their educations,
starting with the basic computer training at the Kguatswane Centre.
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email: tracey at traceynaughton.com
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