n Journal of African Films & Diaspora Studies - The role of social media in youth civic engagement practices in the Eastern Cape

Volume 3, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 2516-2705
  • E-ISSN: 2516-2713



The increasing appropriation of social media by young people has impelled many scholars to study how social networks affect their civic participation. Understanding this has become more urgent since there are concerns over the growing indifference to civic participation among young people. The paper was conceptualised using the public sphere theory. A mixed research design was used and 331 questionnaires were distributed to gather quantitative data while six focus group discussions were conducted to gather qualitative data. The findings showed that there is a shifting notion of communities and that young people are using social media to interact and solve issues that affect them in their ‗communities‘. Young people also use social media to get news, to discuss community development issues and to help others within their social networks to address challenges they face individually or collectively. The study concludes that social networks are important tools for promoting civic engagement.

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