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AFRIK-IT  April 1996

AFRIK-IT April 1996

Subject:

Re: Internet influence on rural development

From:

Darren Bolden <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

African Network of IT Experts and Professionals (ANITEP) List

Date:

Sat, 27 Apr 1996 11:45:40 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (60 lines)

On Apr 25,  5:41pm, Valerie Bruce wrote:
> Subject: Re: Internet influence on rural development
> Abongwa Ndumu wrote:
> >
> >I'll go for the reverse effect here. I think we need to develop the
> >Internet in Africa to reverse western imperialism. If a lot Africans
> >have access to the Internet, we can start pumping bytes of African culture
and
> >values to the rest of the world.
> >
>
> Which strata of African societies are you referring to?  "....a lot...."
> The elites in gov't and in universities?    Many of whom are Western
> educated, and are familiar with Western culture?  The peasants, to whom the
> internet means nothing, at least in its current form?
>
> Why don't you start right now?  "....start pumping bytes of African culture
> and values to the rest of the world."  Give us some examples, to illustrate
> your point.
>
> Valerie Bruce
> [log in to unmask]
>-- End of excerpt from Valerie Bruce
 
Ms. Bruce:
 
I am surprised that you have not seen the plethora of information on the
Internet concerning African affairs. Perhaps, you were not looking for it, but
it is there. There is anxiety upon some developing nations that the Internet is
intrusive and that netizens are forced to learn English and subject themselves
to a barrage of Western-oriented information. So there are many initiatives
(strongly supported by Japan) to produce multilingual and multicultural
Internet services. Perhaps this is a start.
 
While I understand your point very clearly and have read literature eluding to
your "techno-imperialism" hypothesis, there is definitely an opportunity for
Africans and those of other developing countries to begin to make a presence on
the Net. When you say Western educated, you REALLY mean Western 'trained'.
There is a big difference between education and training. Most Africans are
'educated' at home long before venturing outside of their villages and have a
deeply-rooted value system that they never relinquish. There is a saying the
the fruit never falls far from its branches.
 
Saying this, I believe that most Africans would jump at the opportunity to
exhibit the pride of their culture the the world's 5 billion citizens. Of
course you and I know that Africa has quite a way to go in terms of mere
awareness of the importance of this type of technology. However, I am in total
agreement with Mr. Nduma and the reverse effect of Internet information
diffusion. He did not say it would happen overnight, nor did he say it would be
an easy task to accomplish this. We all know that the English language and
Western orientation of the Internet will exist for a long time.
 
Sincerely,
 
 
Darren Bolden
Clark Atlanta University
Atlanta, GA 30314
U.S.A.

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