n Communicatio : South African Journal of Communication Theory and Research - Using information and communication technologies (ICTs) for deep rural development in South Africa : research case studies




In response to the urban-rural digital divide in South Africa, various public and private sector information and communication technology (ICT)-related initiatives have been launched that have tried (mostly unsuccessfully) to counteract the disparities that characterise such a divide. The focus of this article is the description of a relatively more successful pilot study of this kind in the deep rural Tsilitwa community of the Eastern Cape. The project's aim was to develop and implement an innovative communications infrastructure that could run independently of the state power and telecommunications utility companies, to develop relevant capacity within the community, and to provided appropriate information content for ICT applications in support of sustainable development in the area. It was found that the project succeeded in achieving all of these aims, inter alia by establishing and equipping a number of multi-purpose community centres in the area, and by developing a sustainability model for each MPCC. In addition the learning of the broader initiative of which this project was a part, was gathered and developed into a draft framework for successful replication of similar interventions in rural areas.


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