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Sharing knowledge about social media in Africa

Africa is online. Leiden Africa expert Mirjam de Bruijn is fascinated by the fast development of mobile telephony and social media in Africa. She maintains a website on the topic, focusing on isolated, marginalised and conflict-ridden areas in Middle Africa.

The real revolution in Africa

In terms of mobile telephony and social media, Africa may still be lagging behind the rest of the world, but it is quickly catching up. The rapid spread of modern means of communication provides many chances and opportunities and is sometimes referred to as ‘the real African revolution’. Policy makers across the world embrace this development as a key to progress in Africa. But what is actually going on? And is there any scientific evidence to support their enthusiasm?

Sharing knowledge with the public

The website is intended as a platform for the research project on 'Connections and Communication in the Social Fabric under Duress': a platform to share knowledge on the use of mobile and social media in isolated and conflict-ridden areas of Middle Africa with the public. The project team publishes news reports, publications and information on their 'Connecting in times of duress' website.

Filling the knowledge gap

Professor Mirjam de Bruijn was awarded a VICI grant in 2012 for her project on 'Connecting in times of duress: understanding communication and conflict in Middle Africa’s mobile margin.' She wants to fill the gap in knowledge on rapid changes in isolated areas, areas that have been marginalised and where conflicts are widespread. ‘We are not so much interested in the spectacular, but rather in the social and political changes taking place in a social structure under pressure and duress,’ says De Bruijn.

(30 July 2013)

Fieldwork by Mirjam de Bruijn
Fieldwork by Mirjam de Bruijn



Global Interaction of Civilizations and Languages is one of the six themes for research at Leiden University.

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