This article offers some reflections on the state of development communication in South Africa, and suggests that closer attention needs to be paid to the theoretical underpinnings of communication for development practices, the emerging institutional, contexts and the capacity building that is required in rapid change. It suggests that academics and practitioners need to find a middle way through the anything-goes and developmentalism poles of the debate about how best to use communication for development, particularly in light of the new Government Communications and Information Service and its Poverty and Inequality Report. The author suggests that some of the following issues should be considered: (a) Facilitation is an urgency; as institutional frameworks for policy implementation are consolidated, so too a new institutionally driven process of facilitation is underway, albeit with a number of different approaches and models. What are these methods and models that underpin interventions? (b) Information is essential: as the importance of communication is increasingly recognized (in all its forms, but driven by the information technology revolution) so there remains the problem of capacity, both in institutions and on the ground. (c) Research forms the core of any effort at development communication: What, then, are the research priorities for academics and practitioners in a context of nation building, GEAR, and information technology? How do academics relate to the people who are directly involved in communicating around development issues?
Communicare 17(1), 1998, pp.88-96.