Rural transformation, network society and the information age : The case of Nkonkobe District Municipality in the Eastern Cape
MetadataShow full item record
The aim of this article is exploratory: to illustrate the main trends in communication and amongst data users in the Nkonkobe Municipal Area, a municipal zone in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, now known as Chris Hani. Based on information collected in 2016 and 2017, the research project locates the use of both cellular phones and smartphones within a broader menu of communication devices and information retrieval in rural areas, including televisions, radios, newspapers and conventional interaction. It focuses particularly on the conditions and circumstances under which cellular phones and smartphones were used and the type of residents who were most likely to use them. Many analysts are of the opinion that cellular devices can increase communication in economically disadvantaged zones through the creation of a shared ‘virtual social network’ that ‘levels’ society, creating equal access to information. The results of this study reveal that although smartphones are widespread, these types of devices have not replaced communication via cellular phones or physical interaction. Realistically, smartphone usage is limited by cost and network coverage. For the majority of smartphone owners, connectivity is not always easy and compels movement towards regional urban centres, where data is cheaper and can be accessed.
- TD: 2020 Volume 16