Managing Distance: Rural Poverty and the Promise of Communication in Post-Apartheid South Africa

By Andrew Skuse, Thomas Cousins - 2008

This article examines rural telecommunications access and use among poor village households in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Discussion is based upon a content analysis of 165 telephone calls, as well as a broader information and communication technology (ICT) ownership, access and use survey undertaken in 50 poor households within a number of rural villages in the Mount Frere district. These data are complimented and supported by qualitative data emerging from a longer-term UK Department for International Development-funded study of ICT use and social communication practices among the urban and rural poor in South Africa. The purpose of the article is to: (i) question existing notions of telecommunications access; (ii) assess the extent to which rural inequalities are exacerbated or ameliorated by telecommunications access; and (iii) examine the extent to which telecommunications are enlisted as a strategic tool by poor households for maintaining kin-based redistributive networks and enhancing livelihood sustainability.

Journal of Asian and African StudiesApril 2007 vol. 42 no. 2 185-207.

By Andrew Skuse, Thomas Cousins| 2008
Categories:  Communication Policy


Communication rights enable all people everywhere to express themselves individually and collectively by all means of communication. They are vital to full participation in society and are, therefore, universal human rights belonging to every man, woman, and child.


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