PhD defence S.P. (Sadrag) Shihomeka
- Prof.dr. M.S.S.E. Janssen
- Dr. P. Arora
On Thursday 5 December 2019, S.P. Shihomeka will defend his PhD dissertation, entitled: ‘Citizen Engagement. Politics and Digital Media in Namibia’.
Focusing on the Ohangwena Region in Namibia, this dissertation examined the attitudes, perceptions, feelings and experiences of youths and political leaders towards the use of mobile phones as a tool for participation and engagement in regional and local politics. Data were collected through participant observations obtained from youth forum meetings; semi-structured interviews with 65 participants from regional youth and constituency forums and six regional councillors; a content-analysis of seven Facebook pages and two WhatsApp groups; and focus group discussions with the regional youth forum executive members. Poor network connectivity and poor radio frequencies, a high rate of unemployment among the youths, and difficulties in accessing political representatives in the region motivated the youths in this study to use their mobile phones to discuss issues, including political and civic ones that deeply affected their lives. The respondents generally prefer online platforms to physical situations of political participation and engagement – meeting spaces that are currently used by their political representatives. Private radio stations have overtaken public ones, thanks to political news and programmes on mobiles. For rural and unemployed youths, the main factors that inhibit the use of mobile phones for catching radio programmes are access, availability, signals, and radio frequencies. Despite these obstacles, mobile media emerged as a preferred virtual platform for online political activity among the youth – not just in connection with the radio, but in general. Youths are less engaged in civic and political activities that unfold offline, because they consider them the predilect terrain of older generations.
The public defence will take place at the Senatehall, 1st floor of the Erasmus Building, Campus Woudestein. The ceremony will begin exactly at 13.30 hrs. In light of the solemn nature of the ceremony, we recommend that you do not take children under the age of 6 to the first part of the ceremony.