A revolution in ICT, the last hope for African Rural Communities' technology appropriation

Kapuire, Gereon Koch and Winschiers Theophilus, Heike and Chivuno Kuria, Shilumbe and Bidwell, Nicola J and Blake, Edwin (2010) A revolution in ICT, the last hope for African Rural Communities' technology appropriation, Proceedings of International Development Informatics Association Conference (IDIA2010), 3-5 November 2010, Cape Town, South Africa, Monash University.

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In this paper we present a methodological perspective on the challenge of designing products suited to rural practices and conceptualizations in Southern Africa. To create a framework compatible with rural customs of information transfer and supportive of rural priorities, we are sensitive to the way power relations between the rural and urban practises affect development and design methods. This paper argues within a theoretical perspective of Development Informatics on designing for the oral and performed knowledge that people routinely share, informally, and facetoface. Such knowledge inherently differs from those knowledge forms that Information communication Technology (ICT) explicates and codifies and is illserved by knowledge representation and retrieval mechanisms (e.g. hierarchical structures, textbased search, technical ontologies). Uncovering the incompatibility of existing technologies with the representation of African Indigenous Knowledge systems reveals our own conceptual limitations in finding new answers without falling back on familiar ICT patterns, be they technological or methodological. Adopting a dialogical and participatory action research approach to ICT design and development is core not only to preserving culture and identity locally but nourishing local invention of ICT more generally. Thus, our discussion explores how the processes and methods, through which we understand users and their activities, can shape design and development concepts and paradigms.

Item Type: Conference paper
Uncontrolled Keywords: ICT4D, African Indigenous Knowledge systems
Subjects: Human-centered computing
Social and professional topics
Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2010
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2019 15:33
URI: http://pubs.cs.uct.ac.za/id/eprint/640

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