FORUM UNDER DEVELOPMENT
Africans during the Apartheid era, are embedded
with values and practices that differ from those
of African people. That is, while systems and pro-
cedures might be “internationalized” or custom-
ized for African contexts, they are founded on
non-African values and practices [ 2, 3]. Moreover,
while African IT professionals and teachers may
notice gaps in applications and consider “core” IT
skills in local contexts, they are unlikely to ques-
tion the status quo.
To understand why African teachers, students,
and professionals are unlikely to practicably con-
test the hegemony of IT systems and design—even
when they recognize incongruence with local val-
ues and practices—we need to account for some
of these values themselves, along with power rela-
tions. In teaching we routinely observe students’
high regard for textually published knowledge,
even if the content focuses on the operations of
systems in the digital landscape of developed
regions and, in the case of HCI textbooks, is
invested with non-African values. The authority
of the textbook for Africans relates again to power
relations and also to experiences in schools and
values inherent in African society.
[ 2] Winschiers,
H. and Fendler,
The Need to Redefine
Usability.” Usability and
Part I. Ed. N. Aykin.
[ 3] Winschiers-
Photograph courtesy of oneVillage Initiative / http:// www.onevillagefoundation.org/index.html
Theophilus, H. “Cultural
Soft ware Design and
of Research on Socio
Technical Design and
System. Ed. B.
Whitworth. Hershey, PA:
IGI Global, 2009.
January + February 2010
•Students learn hands-on assembly of computer hardware and networking components at Winneba Open Digital Village IT School in
Ghana as part of a basic training program organized by Taiwanese volunteers and the oneVillage Initiative.