WSU Research addresses Digital Divide in South Africa

 Public Relations Management lecturer, Nelson Nciweni, discussed his research on digital divide at an international conference held at the Central University of Technology in Bloemfontein.

Nciweni outlined that the technologies are available for citizens, but they are not active users of it and this is highly influenced by the digital divide which is a result of the socio-economic status people live under, as individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, characterized by lower income levels and limited resources, encounter significant challenges in accessing and utilizing digital technologies.

Public Relations Management lecturer, Nelson Nciweni [Photo by WSU]

In the paper he presented at the conference titled: “Addressing the Digital Divide in South Africa: Promoting Access and Inclusion through Technological Innovations”, he raises three issues being key factors creating the divide between communities and their leaders, being the geographical location, their socio-economic status and gender inequality.

“The conference was themed around entrepreneurial development and inclusion of technologies in all parts of societies, promoting access and involvement in technological innovations. Mine was to address how citizens are not technologically inclined, how South Africans are not moving with time, and giving reasons on why we are still far behind andalso on how we can improve,” said Nciweni.

Nciweni outlines that there is a gap, local municipalities wanting to communicate with citizens in rural areas seek to use online platforms such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom, but on forsaken circumstances of the geographical location rural areas are situated on, it is impossible for them to constantly communicate and have meetings with leaders of municipalities.

The one main points he seeks to emphasize is that the communication barrier between leaders and their communities is the digital divide.

“The digital divide represents a concern in access to technology and information. This divide manifests in various forms, including disparities in access levels, usage capabilities, and skill sets among different demographics, geographical locations, and socio-economic statuses” said Nciweni.

Nciweni has made it his mission to better society, not just through disseminating information to students he teaches, but by also deciding to initiate the path of engaging in research on matters holding back society from development.

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