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Word Count: 485
South Africa is a rich and diverse country The bush Gold mining Cape Town But its a country thats been brutally managed on behalf of a very small minority for the past 40 years And that has screwed up its entire infrastructure Forty percent of the countrys able-bodied population is unemployed More than 70 of its adult population is illiterate or semiliterate In a country of 40 million people there are only 3 million telephones-old ones at that as I can attest from personal experience-and 25 million televisionsBut South Africa now has something golden hope And that hope is centered on Nelson Mandela and his new government So I come back to the original question If you were Mandela what would you think about technology in societyYou and I know that technology could help South Africans make the leap from where they are now-somewhere between the First and Second Wave-solidly into the Third Wave and a leadership position in Africa and possibly the worldTechnology for example could help South Africa build a communications infrastructure where none has existed On June 1 the country switched on its cellular phone system for the first time The government did a good job it designed a competitive system based on the same standard as European mobile phones meaning that the network was able to be built very quickly and the cost of the phones will fall very rapidly Because it is competitive the cost of making calls is substantially lower for the cellular system than for the monopoly wired system which is managed by a state bureaucracy called TelkomBut the people who are living in and running South Africa have little experience with technology or its potential benefits and Mandelas new government is only beginning to develop its policies and philosophy in this area Its hard enough for those of us in advanced industrialized countries like the United States to figure out how to use it But imagine trying
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