The mobile phone – a global good?

Modern material culture and communication technology in Africa

Authored by: Julia Verne

The Routledge Handbook of Archaeology and Globalization

Print publication date:  November  2016
Online publication date:  November  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415841306
eBook ISBN: 9781315449005
Adobe ISBN:


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[beep] An incoming text message tells Salya that her uncle in London has finally sent her the promised money. [beep] Via whatsapp she is receiving a picture of a pair of shoes, which her cousin in Canada wants to buy for her. By sending the picture she wants to make sure that the present meets her taste. [beep] She receives a text message from her grandmother who lives in Lamu, not far from the border with Somalia. She is asking when she will finally receive the dress that Salya wanted to get made for her by a famous tailor in Mombasa. And while she is still texting a reply to her grandmother, her mobile phone rings. A friend in Nairobi is asking for the new access code to the e-library of Moi University where they are both studying, reminding her that they still have some reading to do in preparation for their next seminar. After having finished the call, she uses the time she still has on the minibus on her way home to download the relevant articles to her phone. The netbook that her uncle had sent her two years ago when she started her degree is, once again, not working properly at the moment. Right, she shouldn’t forget to thank her uncle for the money he just sent to her phone.

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