Cellphones main gateway to Internet in SA townships

Only 14% of township residents say they never access the Internet

By - December 11, 2011
Mobile websites

Cellphones remain the primary gateway to the Internet for South Africans living in townships, according to the results of a new survey by ikapadata.

The Cape Town-based research company found that of the 715 people surveyed in townships in Johannesburg, Durban, and Cape Town, 26% of respondents said that they access the internet only via cellphone.

41% said that they use both cellphones and computers, while 20% said the access the Internet via computer only.

The number of township residents accessing the Internet from home computer was low, ikapadata found, with only 28% of those that use a computer to access the Internet (whether in combination with cellphone or not) doing so.

Almost the same proportion (27%) use a public library, ikapadata said, followed by the workplace and school/university (21% each).

Most (54%) use computers at shops or internet cafes.

Interestingly, ikapadata’s results showed that only 14% maintain that they never access the Internet.

Sample information

To get a better idea of what ikapadata’s numbers represent, we asked them for a detailed breakdown of their sample.

The geographic breakdown of respondents was as follows:

  • 247 from Johannesburg: Tembisa (majority – 60%), Soweto, Alexandra, and smaller places.
  • 247 from Durban: KwaMashu, Illovo Township, Isipingo, and Umlazi
  • 221 from Cape Town: Makhaza (Northern Khayelitsha), Nyanga, and Masiphumelele, with smaller numbers of respondents from townships in-between (e.g. Gugulethu, other parts of Khayelitsha)The survey was slightly more male-dominated, with 57% of the responses coming from males and 43% from females.

The age distribution of respondents is shown in the graph below:

ikapadata Social networking and Internet usage survey age distribution - December 2011

ikapadata Social networking and Internet usage survey age distribution

ikapadata said that the survey was self-funded.

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