http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 14.69Change: -0.06
R/$ = 10.62Change: -0.04
Au 1293.45 $/ozChange: 3.40
Pt 1412.50 $/ozChange: 2.50
 
 
Note: Search is limited to the most recent 250 articles. Set date range to access earlier articles.
Where? With... When?








Start
 
End
 
 
And must exclude these words...
Close Main Search
Close Main Login
My Profile News Alerts Newsletters Logout Close Main Profile
 
Nelson Mandela 1918 - 2013   Agriculture   Automotive   Chemicals   Competition Policy   Construction   Defence   Economy   Electricity   Energy   Environment   ICT   Metals   Mining   Science & Technology   Services   Trade   Transport & Logistics   Water  
What's On Press Office Suppliers Directory Research Jobs Announcements Contact Us
 
 
 
RSS Feed
Article   Comments   Other News   Research   Magazine  
 
 
Feb 11, 2011

How cellphones have changed the way we communicate

Back
Cape Town|Facebook|Twitter|Africa|South Africa|United States|Julia|Morris
cape-town|facebook|twitter|africa|south-africa|united-states|julia|morris-person
© Reuse this



When I was a student (yes, I know it’s a long long time ago – don’t be nasty) we had no cellphones and many houses had no phones at all.

If I wanted to meet somebody, I would try to phone them and, if they were not around, I would leave a message with whoever would have answered the call that I had called and to phone back and, sure enough, in a day or two, I would get a call-back.

There were other forms of communication. Often, I would say, hey, do you ever see ol’ whats- itsname and, if the answer was yes, I would say something like, ok, when you see him, tell him Jack got married. You get the idea?

Communication was by word of mouth, largely. One also wrote letters. I had a very long correspondence with girlfriends. For some reason, I always fell in love with girls who lived in other towns and we wrote regularly. It took up the time at nights which, since TV only arrived in South Africa in 1976, were relatively empty (I couldn’t afford to drink).

This changed when we all got cellphones, Twitter and Facebook. Back in the day, we also used to visit each other and catch up on news. We would drop in at a student house and chat away about what and who and it was all very pleasant and I miss it – lots. I cannot imagine that the young people, texting away like mad things, have as much fun as we had

I am not just indulging in nostalgia – there is a point to all this, and it is this: from time to time, I employ a builder called Morris and his friend, Rasta. Morris and Rasta cannot really read, but they are very good builders. Also, much of the time, they do not have work. Anyway, I decided to build onto the house a bit so I tried to phone Morris on his cellphone using the number that he had given me two years previously. No result. So I said to Julia, my housekeeper, do you know the cell number of Morris? Oh, she said, no, but do you want him to come here to build? Yes, said I, yes.

Two days later, Morris arrived. I showed him what work was needed and he said, fine, he’ll be back on Monday. All good. I vaguely assumed that Morris had been living in one of the townships and had got word of my job offer.

The following Monday, he came round. For a full hour, Julia and he stood by the gate and chatted. I cannot speak Xhosa, but you could easily tell the substance of the conversation. It was something like: “Oh, yes. You know old Moses? Yes? OK, now his son, not the one with the limp or the one who got married in Butterworth, the other son, well, he has just bought two cows. You know Peter? The man from the dairy farm? They’re his cows. The cows were the calves of the old cow of Bertha, the one that was struck by lightning . . .”

As Jennifer said, “a full-on kuier (visiting) session”.

The following day I asked Morris where he was living. Oh, he said, in the Transkei. Yes, I said, I know, but where now? Where had he been when Julia phoned him? Oh, he said, in the Transkei. Where? Twenty kilo- metres from Ntsaka. And Julia hadn’t actually phoned – his friend had walked from Ntsaka to tell him.

As they say in the US, go figure. Julia had told a friend of Morris that work was avail- able in Cape Town and, in a day, the vast whispering gallery of Africa had given him the message over a distance of 1 000 km. A day later, Rasta arrived. He had been nearby, a mere 900 km away and Morris had told him to stand by until Morris had found out more about the deal.

I am not suggesting that informal communication is better than cellphones, but it is still very astonishing that it works at all. But it does, and really only with the poorer people of this country. Somehow, I find this very comforting.

Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other Terry Mackenzie-Hoy News
Updated 7 hours ago I have developed a number of relationships with professionals and semiprofessionals. There is my doctor, dentist and Dr Keith, my favourite plastic surgeon. I have a plumber, an electrician, a garden service provider and a rubbish removal service provider. And so on....
The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration began its Mars exploration programme in 2003 with the sending of  two surface rovers – Spirit and Opportunity – to explore the Martian surface. The mission's scientific objective was to characterise a wide...
It is all too easy for an ex-tour guide to decide to become an environmentalist and, thus, an expert on power generation and supply. Next, the said tour guide to starts telling everybody what the South African electrical generation mix should be (coal vs nuclear vs...
More
 
 
Latest News
A new business association has been formally launched to link foreign suppliers of equipment to State-owned companies (SoCs) with large and small domestic companies in an effort to improve prospects for higher levels of local content in South Africa’s...
The Nelson Mandela Bay municipality has upgraded its Department of Human Settlements’ centralised information centre (CIC), introducing a new integrated land planning information system (ILIS) and refurbishing the interior and exterior of the centre, using...
The KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Department of Transport on Thursday announced a 77.3 km, R1.2-billion road upgrade that would connect Pongola and eDumbe, in the north western part of the province. The project, of which the first 6.5 km, R65-million, construction phase had...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2014: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2014 report provides an overview of the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon steel and stainless...
Projects in Progress 2014 - First Edition (PDF Report)
This publication contains insight into progress at the delayed Medupi and Kusile coal-fired projects, in Mpumalanga and Limpopo respectively, as well as at the Ingula pumped-storage scheme, which is under construction on the border between the Free State and...
Automotive 2014: A review of South Africa's automotive sector (PDF Report)
The report provides insight into the business environment, the key participants in the sector, local construction demand, geographic diversification, competition within the sector, corporate activity, skills, safety, environmental considerations and the challenges...
Construction 2014: A review of South Africa's construction sector (PDF Report)
Construction data released during 2013 hints at a halt to the decline in the industry during the last few years, with some commentators averring that the industry could be poised for recovery. However, others have urged caution, noting that the prospects for a...
Electricity 2014: A Review of South Africa's Electricity Sector (PDF Report)
This report provides an overview of the state of electricity generation and transmission in South Africa and examines electricity planning, investment in generation capacity, electricity tariffs, the role of independent power producers and demand-focused initiatives,...
Defence 2013: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2013 Defence Report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key players in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the defence sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial...
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
Updated 7 hours ago Celebrating its fiftieth Green Star SA certification in only six years, and with a further 150 projects in the Green Star SA registration pipeline, the impact will increase significantly. “In South Africa, certified new green buildings now cover nearly one-million...
SMART MOVER What differentiates VWSA’s AGV line from other AGV lines is that it is a completely contactless system
Updated 7 hours ago Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) has installed an automated guided vehicle (AGV) line to replace the traditional roller conveyor used on the VW250 engine line. An AGV is a mobile robot that follows markers or cabling in the floor, or uses vision or lasers to...
Updated 7 hours ago South Africa has an opportunity to achieve a similar result to that of China, which has lifted hundreds of millions of its citizens from poverty to prosperity, but the challenge is to develop world-class customer-focused engineers.
Updated 7 hours ago South Africa had more than enough money and resources to deliver on the constitutional promise of quality of life for all, but those involved in corruption have cost the country immensely.
LATE-ARRIVAL BMW The arrival of the i8 supercar has been delayed to March 2015
Updated 7 hours ago BMW South Africa has postponed the introduction of the i3 city car and i8 supercar to March 2015, says spokesperson Edward Makwana. The i3 is an electric vehicle, and the i8 a plug-in hybrid. Both models were scheduled for local introduction this year.
 
 
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
Alert Close
Embed Code Close
content
Research Reports Close
Research Reports are a product of the
Research Channel Africa. Reports can be bought individually or you can gain full access to all reports as part of a Research Channel Africa subscription.
Find Out More Buy Report
 
 
Close
Engineering News
Completely Re-Engineered
Experience it now. Click here
*website to launch in a few weeks