• Job Mwaura Eastern Mediterranean University, Northern Cyprus
  • Tamar Dambo Eastern Mediterranean University
  • Ochega Ataguba University of Cape Town
  • Admire Mare University of Johannesburg
  • Lusike Mukhongo Western Michigan University
  • Wallace Chuma University of Cape Town
  • Winston Mano University of Westminster



digital technologies, Africa, socio-political change, social media, political participation, citizenship, elections, revolution, influencers, grievances


Introductory statement The rise of digital technologies has brought about significant changes in revolutionary projects across Africa. The impact of these technologies on social movements and activism is complex and multi-faceted. This panel examines the role of technology in shaping African revolutionary projects, such as the use of social media platforms for mobilisation and coordination, and the challenges around issues like manipulation and exploitation. It also delves into the diverse goals and aspirations that drive these movements, from seeking social justice to reorganising social orders. By discussing these topics, the panel aims to provide attendees with a comprehensive understanding of the relationship between technology and revolution in Africa and the different discourses that shape these movements. Relationship between the papers The first paper focuses on Kenya and examines the role of digital technologies, specifically social media, in promoting socio-political change and revolution. The author notes that Kenya has been regarded as one of the technological hubs in Africa, and the increased use of internet technologies has become part of the everyday life of most citizens, especially in urban areas. Social media has become essential for political participation in Kenya, particularly among marginalised communities such as the youth and women. The author highlights the dynamics of protests and socio-political issues that shape socio-political movements, emphasising the use of social media in politically led and grassroots-led protests. On the other hand, paper B looks at Nigeria and explores the forms of civic engagement and citizenship performance on Twitter spaces leading up to the country's 2023 national elections. The author uses the lens of digital citizenship to situate citizens as politically engaged subjects who gather and share information and make rights claims online, potentially altering the balance of power. The author acknowledges the need for contextual understanding when studying a country like Nigeria imbued with culture and diversity. The author also highlights how new media technologies facilitate African digital citizenship and the tacit and observable ways citizens experience their social and cultural context in digital environments that may be uniquely African. Paper C examines the presence of influencers and grievances among the "soro soke" generation during Nigeria's 2023 election cycle. The study aims to show the significance of influencers in the core networks of "soro soke" election tweeters and how their grievances are expressed through personalized statements of hopes, frustrations, and lifestyles that lead to collective action. Additionally, the author explores the response of leading presidential candidates to the #EndSARS movement, highlighting how the movement connected the "soro soke" generation with like-minded politicians and how resources were mobilized to support them. Paper D critiques the discourse of social media platforms driving political revolutions in Southern Africa. It rejects the technological determinism and solutionism approaches and favours theoretical toolkits such as social shaping of technologies, structuration theory and technological dramas. The paper explores digital technologies' complex roles in political struggles, acknowledging their potential for democratization, citizen participation and political voice, as well as negative impacts like digital surveillance, authoritarianism, disinformation campaigns, cyberbullying, and dark participation. It highlights the disruptive tendencies of hashtag movements in Southern Africa, examining digital technologies' positive and negative outcomes. This study contributes to understanding the relationship between digital technologies and political struggles in Southern Africa and challenges revolutionary technologies, actors, movements, and goals' rhetoric on social media. This paper examines how African youth and first-generation young African diasporas in the USA, UK, and France use social media to contest and reframe global media narratives about Africa and its people. It analyzes subversive online narratives that challenge settler colonialism legacies and global north media control. Social media provides a new frontier for disrupting media hegemonies and challenging stereotypes. The study concludes that social media facilitates protests and increases opportunities for youth engagement in collective action. African youth and diasporic communities use social media to challenge negative stereotypes and reframe global media narratives about Africa, redefining identities in the process. All 5 papers are related in that they all focus on the role of digital technologies in shaping political and social change. They explore how digital technologies are leveraged to challenge dominant narratives, amplify alternative voices, and mobilize collective action. The abstracts also share a critical perspective that seeks to move beyond deterministic and solutionist approaches to analyzing the relationship between society and technologies and instead highlight the complex and multifaceted ways in which digital technologies can enable or constrain political struggles. In addition, the abstracts focus on different geographic contexts, including Nigeria, Kenya, Southern Africa, and the diaspora in the USA, UK, and France, indicating the global reach of digital technologies in shaping political and social change. Overall, the abstracts highlight the potential of digital technologies as a tool for challenging dominant narratives and mobilizing collective action while also acknowledging the ambivalent and contested nature of their impact.




How to Cite

Mwaura, . J. ., Dambo, T., Ataguba, O., Mare, A., Mukhongo, L., Chuma, W., & Mano, W. (2023). DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES AND REVOLUTION IN AFRICA: COMPLEXITIES, AMBIVALENCES, AND CONTEXTUAL REALITIES. AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research.