Digital Citizenship in Africa: Technologies of Agency and Repression

Published on 27 July 2023

Since the so-called Arab Spring, citizens of African countries have continued to use digital tools in creative ways to ensure that marginalised voices are heard, and to demand for the rights they are entitled to in law: to freely associate, to form opinions, and to express them online without fear of violence or arrest.

The authors of this compelling open access volume have brought to life this dramatic struggle for the digital realm between citizens and governments; documenting in vivid detail how citizens are using mobile and internet tools in powerful viral global campaigns to hold governments accountable and force policy change.

With contributions from scholars across the continent, Digital Citizenship in Africa illustrates how citizens have been using VPNs, encryption, and privacy-protecting browsers to resist limits on their rights to privacy and political speech. This book dramatically expands our understanding of the vast and growing arsenal of tech tools, tactics, and techniques now being deployed by repressive governments to limit the ability of citizens to safely and openly express opposition to government and corporate actions. AI-enabled surveillance, covertly deployed disinformation, and internet shutdowns are documented in ten countries, concluding with recommendations on how to curb government and corporate power, and how to re-invigorate digital citizenship across Africa.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction: Spaces of digital citizenship in Africa by Tony Roberts and Tanja Bosch
  2. Ethno-religious citizenship in Nigeria: Ethno-religious fault lines and the truncation of collective resilience of digital citizens: The cases of #ENDSARS and #PantamiMustGo in Nigeria by Ayobami Ojebode, Babatunde Ojebuyi, Oyewole Oladapo and Marjoke Oosterom
  3. Digital crossroads: Continuity and change in Ethiopia’s digital citizenship by Atnaf Brhane and Yohannes Eneyew
  4. Internet shutdowns and digital citizenship by Felicia Anthonio and Tony Roberts
  5. Feminist digital citizenship in Nigeria by Sandra Ajaja
  6. Digital citizenship and cyber-activism in Zambia by Sam Phiri, Kiss Abraham and Tanja Bosch
  7. Digital citizenship and political accountability in Namibia’s 2019 election by Mavis Elias and Tony Roberts
  8. Citizenship, African languages and digital rights: The role of language in defining the limits and opportunities for digital citizenship in Kiswahili-language communities by Nanjala Nyabola

Read the Book

Cite this publication

Roberts, T. and Bosch, T. (eds) (2023), Digital Citizenship in Africa: Technologies of Agency and Repression: Bloomsbury: London


Tony Roberts

Digital Cluster Research Fellow

Tanja Bosch

Publication details

published by
978 1 3503 24459


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