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n Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems - Information and Communication Technology (ICT) framework for African traditional governance
A high percentage of the South African population depends on the governance of traditional leaders for social, economic and development projects. However, the duties of traditional leaders towards their people, and the government in power, are always marred by fundamental problems such as the issue of record keeping, management, as well as packaging and dissemination of indigenous information. This article investigated the roles and functions of traditional leaders, and how ICT is applied in the North West Province of South Africa. A case study approach was used. Nine participants were drawn from an entire population of traditional leaders who are chiefs, tribal councillors and headmen.
Data was collected using semi-structured, open-ended interview questions, to inquire about their roles and functions as traditional leaders, types of ICT tools available to them as traditional leaders, and how these ICT tools are used to support their work processes.
The findings revealed that traditional leaders perform functions which include protection of the rural local communities' customs, cultural values, laws, and provision of leadership to the people. It was further noted that there were computers in most traditional or tribal offices but were being used to write official letters and read emails. The routine work activities of the traditional leaders, such as the issue of record keeping, management of cases, accessibility of information from municipal offices, as well as the appropriate coding, packaging and dissemination of indigenous knowledge, were not executed by the use of ICT, but by paper base.
These findings led to the proposal of an ICT Framework for African traditional governance which could assist traditional leaders to automate their work processes, and share information with municipal managers in district offices, to facilitate effective governance. In addition, the ICT framework is to provide a repository where all indigenous knowledge, rules and procedures are stored for future generations.
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