When I met Nishant Shah in Boston a couple of months ago, he told me about the Digital Natives with a Cause project. The project was to host a workshop in South Africa where it will convene Africans from across the continent who define themselves as Digital Natives. I smirked initially at the title of the project because I thought that the experience of being a Digital Native in the Prenskian sense does not typify the experience of a significant number of Africans, especially the vast majority of African youth.
Since the start of the Digital Natives Workshop in Joburg on Sunday the 7th of November 2010, i have been grappling with a number of issues in my mind. Why use the term natives? what is the difference between a native and a netizen? How are both concepts connected to the practice of citizenship? What makes someone a digital native?
This is one of those inspirational moments.
I'll go straight to the point.
Being a digital native in Africa has its challenges and its opportunities as well. Believe me, we are lucky! Think of all the kids in Africa who would have loved the opportunity to have laptops and iphones and blackberries and to use them to change the world. The sad reality is that they don't.
...but we do! We have laptops, we have iphones, we have blackberries...and the cool thing about it is that we are using them to make a change in this world. A change we believe in and that we champion in our own ways.