Mobility has become a prominent feature in African societies: populations all over Africa are both mobile and politically and economically marginal. Yet these populations are actively engaged in maintaining social networks across localities. Mobilities, ICTs and marginality in Africa looks at the dramatic changes brought about in socially marginal populations by new ICTs in general and mobile phones in particular.
The book aims to situate the cultural, social and, in some cases, transnational context of ICT appropriation and virtual connectivity so as to reposition Africans from various countries and contexts as active agents of social change. The intricacies of local ICT use and the dynamics of mobility in the African context enables us to better understand material cultures, relationships between people, new media and social networking. Equally explored in relation to ICTs are the social and spatial dynamics of communication, association and belonging across spaces – particularly physical borders, social boundaries and confines and possibilities informed by the habitus of bodies and practices.
Mobilities, ICTs and marginality in Africa is rich in theoretically informed case studies that lend themselves to comparative perspectives and to ethnographies from beyond Africa.
1. Mobilities, ICTs and marginality in Africa: South Africa in comparative perspective
Francis B Nyamnjoh and Ingrid Brudvig
Part 1: Negotiating Marginality: ICTs as means of empowerment
2. Defeating marginality: Mobile phones as a rite of passage
3. Adopting and adapting the 'Hearing Baby': Appropriation and domestication of the cell phone by the Deaf of Cape Town
Myrna van Pinxteren
4. The invisible visible and the visible invisible: Zimbabwean migrant women in Johannesburg and their cell phones
5. Navigating and negotiating relationships through the cell phone: The case of Basotho women
Part 2: Negotiating distance: Migration, mobility and ICTs
6. Negotiating intimacy, distance and marginality: Migration, religion and the use of ICTs at the Bay Community Church in Cape Town
7. Gifting, reciprocity and obligation in communication by young Cameroonians in Cape Town
8. Mobility and the challenge of obligation and reciprocity: The case of Côte d'Ivoire
Francis B Nyamnjoh
Part 3: Negotiating belonging: ICTs, diaspora and citizenship
9. Belonging nowhere and everywhere: The repercussion of the Indo-Mauritian Diaspora's modern connection with India
Moshumee T Dewoo
10. Belonging away from home: Building community and virtual intimacies among frontier Pinyin migrants in Cape Town and Cameroon
Henrietta M Nyamnjoh
11. ICTs, news and networking among Somali migrants in Cape Town: Prospects for a mobile nationhood?
Part 4: Reconfiguring the Social Field through Digital Inclusion
12. Mobile margins: Mobile communication and the reconfiguration of the family in post-independence Namibia
Volker Winterfeldt and Ndeshimona Namupala
13. From letter writers to call box attendants: Communicating in a marginal community in Cameroon Grassfields, c. 1940–2000
Walter Gam Nkwi
14. Getting lost: On technologies of identity and belonging
Ana Karina Menezes de Morais
About the authors