Rethinking Marginality in South Africa
286 Pages
English
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Rethinking Marginality in South Africa

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Gain access to the library to view online
Learn more
286 Pages
English

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What does it mean to be marginal? For residents of Cape Town’s Langa Township, being considered marginal is subject to a host of social, physical and sometimes materialistic qualifications – not least of which is owning a mobile phone. Through various presentations of unique aspects of township life revealed through ethnographic snapshots, this book reveals the complex realities of marginalization experienced by some residents in Langa Township, located in Cape Town, South Africa. Mobile phones have been embraced and accommodated by both local South Africans and African immigrant residents living and working in Langa. Among other things, the technology has become a way of challenging (real and imagined) marginalities within the township in particular and South Africa in general. The book provides empirical data on the role of technology in regards to migration and notions of belonging; specifically the ways that technology has mitigated distance for residents, provided opportunities for development, facilitated the negotiation of various marginalities, and offered new ways of belonging for Langa residents.

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Published by
Published 17 July 2014
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EAN13 9789956792511
Language English
Document size 2 MB

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RETHINKING MARGINALITY IN SOUTH AFRICA: M P   C  B  L T
Crystal Powell
Rethinking Marginality in South Africa: Mobile Phones and the Concept of Belonging in Langa Township
Crystal Powell
Langaa Research & Publishing CIG Mankon, Bamenda
Publisher: LangaaRPCIG Langaa Research & Publishing Common Initiative Group P.O. Box 902 Mankon Bamenda North West Region Cameroon Langaagrp@gmail.comwww.langaa-rpcig.net Distributed in and outside N. America by African Books Collective orders@africanbookscollective.com www.africanbookcollective.com ISBN: 9956-792-02-0 ©Crystal Powell 2014
DISCLAIMER All views expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Langaa RPCIG.
Table of Contents AbbreviationsChapter 1: ICTS, Migration, Mobility, And Belonging: An Introduction…………………………………………….. 1 Introduction………………………………………………. 1 Background To The Study……………………………….. 14 Statement Of The Problem………………………………. 17 Purpose And Rationale Of The Study……………………. 23 Significance Of The Study……………………………….. 25 Conceptual Framework…………………………………… 26 Research Questions………………………………………. 37 Delimitations…………………………………………….. 38 Assumptions……………………………………………… 38 Outline Of The Remainder Of The Book……………….. 39 Conclusion………………………………………………... 41 Chapter 2: Digging In And Being Dug Into By Langa: An Ethnographic Approach……………………………….. 43 Introduction………………………………………………. 43 Methods………………………………………………….. 44 Entering The Field……………………………………….. 47 Selection Of Participants………………………………….. 54 Ethical Considerations…………………………………… 56 Data Collection………………………………………….. 60 Data Analysis……………………………………………. 64 Limitations And Challenges………………………………. 65 Reflexivity………………………………………………… 68 Conclusion………………………………………………... 71 Chapter 3: Everyday Life In Langa: Ethnographic Snapshots Introduction………………………………………..……..73 Do Marginal Spaces Produce Marginal People?.......................75 Introducing Langa Township……………………………... 79 vi
Langa: Ethnographic Snapshots………………………….. 83 Perceptions Of Langa As A Marginal Population In Cape Town……………………………………………….. 92 Questioning Langa’s Categorical Marginality…………….. 100 Conclusion……………………………………………….. 103 Chapter 4: ICTS And The Development Of Langa Residents: A ‘Marginal’ Mobile Population………………………. 105Introduction………………………………………………. 105 Some Practical Uses Of ICTS In Langa………………….. 108 Revealing The Margins Within The “Margins”……………. 117 The Mobile Phone As A Rite-Of-Passage In Langa……….. 122 ICTS And The Development Of Langa: A Mobile Population…………………………………………………126 Conclusion………………………………………………... 130 Chapter 5: ICTS And The Mitigation Of Distance For Langa Residents………………………………………………... 133Introduction………………………………………………. 133 Communication In Langa Before The Introduction Of Mobile Technology……………………………………………….. 135 The Adoption Of Mobile Phones By Langa Residents……. 146 Mobile Phones And The Mitigation Of Distance For Langa Residents…………………………………………………. 161 Conclusion……………………………………………….. 164 Chapter 6: The Impact Of ICTS On New Socio-Economic Relations In Langa………………………………………167 Introduction………………………………………………. 167 South Africa’s Economy In Historical Perspective……….. 168 Mobility, Migration And Globalization In South Africa……170 Information And Communication Technologies For Development (ICTD)…………………………………………………… 176 ICTS And Their Contribution To Socio-Economic Development……………………………………………... 177 ICTS And New Socio-Economic Relations In Langa…….. 183 vii
Conclusion………………………………………………... 192 Chapter 7: Redefining Socio-Political Relations Through ICTS In Langa…………………………………………...195Introduction………………………………………………. 195 Citizenship And Belonging………………………………. 198 Civic And Political Marginality…………………………… 204 Housing: A Human Rights Struggle In South Africa…….. 206 Social Media As A Tool For Activism……………………. 212 Redefining Socio-Political Relations Through ICTS In Langa…………………………………………………….. 218 Conclusion……………………………………………….. 222 Chapter 8: Conclusion………………………………….. 225 Summary Conclusions…………………………………….. 226 Research Findings………………………………………... 233 Recommendations For Further Research…………………. 242 Reference List……………………………………………245 Appendices……………………………………………….271 Appendix 1: Excerpt From Me And My Cell Phone……….271 Appendix 2: Meet The Participants………………………. 273 Appendix 3: Loliwe Lyrics…………………………………275
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viv
Abbreviations ACHPRThe African Commission for Human and Peoples’ RightsANCAfrican National CongressAPFAfrican Partnership ForumB & BBed-and-BreakfastBBMBlackBerry MessagingBISBlackBerry Internet ServiceCBDCentral Business DistrictCOLACOCOThe Coalition for Langa Community ConcernsCLPAPThe Colored Labor Preference Area PolicyDADemocratic AllianceFNBFirst National Bank
ICTs
ICTD
ITU
MTN
P.C.M.
POD
RDPSANPAD
SAPO
SASS
SIM
SMS
UCT
Information and Communication TechnologiesInformation and Communication Technologies Development
International Telecommunication Union
Mobile Telephone Network
Please Call Me
Portable on-demand
Reconstruction and Development ProgramSouth African Netherlands Research Program Alternatives in Development
South African Post Office
South African Suicide Squad
Subscriber Identity Module
Short Message Service
University of Cape Townvv
for
on
vvi
Chapter 1 ICTS, Migration, Mobility, and Belonging: An IntroductionIntroduction This book explores the role of new Information and Communication Technologies (henceforth ICTs) in the making of flexible identities and ideas of belonging among different categories of migrants living and working in Langa Township in Cape Town, South Africa. The exploration into the lives of (im)migrants living in South Africa is of particular interest as South Africans continue to deal with increasing patterns of migration into their country from around the African continent. My interest in the experiences of both internal and external migrants living and working in Langa resulted in the constant navigation between both categories. In this book, the term ‘migrant’ is used to refer to local South Africans who have moved between various places in the country. The term ‘immigrant’ refers to ‘black’ – as opposed to white –Africans from outside of the country who have settled (temporarily or permanently) in South Africa. I use ‘(im)migrants’ to refer to both categories simultaneously. This chapter presents the relevance of Langa Township, as a space where a historical perspective of the use of technology in relation to mobility and notions of (flexible) identity, social space, belonging and marginality among residents are significant towards a broader understanding of the links between communication (technologies), mobility and marginality. The notion of marginality is a central theme of this book. I address and challenge perceptions of Langa’s relative marginality in mainstream Cape Town. This book is based on research conducted during my Doctoral fieldwork at the University of Cape Town (UCT) between 2011 and 2012.The data was collected and used towards my Doctoral dissertation (submitted January 2014, pass results received April 2014), however, the book takes on a more narrative and 1