Telecentre functionality in South Africa: Re-enabling the community ICT access environment


  • Heidi Attwood
  • Kathleen Diga
  • Einar Braathen
  • Julian May



Community Participation


The problems with telecentres are well documented.   Based on a participatory action research project that directly contributed to improved quality of life for 35% of participants and indirectly for another 41% of participants, this paper presents key factors affecting the use of telecentres by poorer people to empower themselves to improve their quality of life. Understanding the numerous interlinking problems surrounding the functionality and use of telecentres as factors of structure and agency as presented in Kleine’s Choice Framework (2011), provides a useful departure point to re-invent telecentres as active citizen development centres.

Author Biographies

Heidi Attwood

Heidi Attwood is Research Master’s student: School of Built Environment and Development Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, SOUTH AFRICA, E-mail:

Kathleen Diga

Kathleen Diga is Project Manager: School of Built Environment & Development Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban SOUTH AFRICA. E-mail:

Einar Braathen

Einar Braathen is Senior Researcher: Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research, Oslo, NORWAY E-mail:

Julian May

Julian May is Director:  Institute for Social Development, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, SOUTH AFRICA, E-mail: