Social media may not catch on as quickly in South Africa as it has in other countries due to the fact that most of the nation is still in a very fragile state. If you take a look at their social and political factors, it’s been fifteen years since the end of the apartheid in 1994 and still for the majority of the black population nothing much has changed.
Economically speaking, the country’s wealth is controlled by a select few. About a quarter of the population lives on less than US$ 1.25 a day. This disproportionate distribution of wealth means that for many South Africans computers and mobile phones are luxury items that only the very rich can afford.
So social media strategy and social media marketing online in South Africa is only existent for a small minority of the privileged population, who utilize South African social media tools such as Muti, Laaik.it, Amatomu or Afrigator. The rest of the population who may only have limited access to computers through work or school often only access the web to check the odd e-mail.
“You then find a situation like you have at present in the online Web 2.0 South African zoo, those who have been benefitting from apartheid through privileged education and upbringing and access to good education and resources banding together only with those from similar privileged backgrounds.” Mario Olckers, from the Social Media Today Blog http://www.socialmediatoday.com/SMC/40745
So the question that comes to mind is…How can business be conducted through social media if the majority of the population has no clue as to what blogging, facebook, and twitter mean? The only way that South Africa can truly embrace social media is to first embrace the legacy of apartheid and the fact that it has been difficult to compensate quickly for generations of educational and social neglect.
In order for social media to fully encompass the diversity of thought and cultures that South Africa has to offer it must first be made available to ALL people.