oa South African Journal of Information Management - Bridging the digital divide : the role of universities in getting South Africa closer to the global information society

Volume 6 Number 2
  • ISSN : 2078-1865
  • E-ISSN: 1560-683X



The global information society (GIS) is a society that breaks all physical barriers and unites people across the globe with the power of information, intermediated by the Internet. In the GIS, all information is transparent and available to everyone. This scenario, however, is a utopian view, as there are millions of people who have no access to, and probably will not have access in their lifetime, to the global society. This article addresses the GIS and its benefits, it examines the negatives of the GIS, the obstacles to belonging to the GIS are discussed and finally, a way forward using tertiary institutions and their infrastructure is provided. A literature review was conducted to develop a theoretical framework for this article. A case study using the University of Durban Westville highlights some of the issues regarding the digital divide. The statistics for the case study are based on the findings of a previous study conducted at the University of Durban Westville in 2001. This study benefits academics in understanding the concepts of the GIS and the digital divide and their role in making the GIS in South Africa a reality, it also provides guidelines for the government in partnership with the private sector to develop the infrastructure for digital communication and information dissemination.

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