Are the ‘Born-Frees’ Always Politically Apathetic? Social Media Use for Campus Politics by Black Undergraduates of North-West University, Mafikeng, South Africa

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Abstract: The South African post-apartheid Black youth—popularly known as the ‗Born Frees‘—

have been stereotyped politically apathetic. But there are yet empirical studies to prove that these

youth are really perpetually averse to political participation, even in their universities, especially

with emergence of social media that provide digital space for social and political engagements.

With the specific attention on Black students of the Mafikeng campus of North-West University,

South Africa as the study population, this study, therefore, employed a sequential qual-QUANT

exploratory design to explore how Black undergraduates use social media to engage in political

activities in the university setting. Anchored on the Uses and Gratifications Theory, the study

employed questionnaire to collect data from 232 respondents selected through stratification and

convenience sampling. Majority (77.1%) of the students affirmed they actively participated in

campus politics using the social media (78.0%) and text messages via mobile phones (60.7%).

Ironically, only 36.2% of the students said they used direct interpersonal communication as the

communication modes for political engagement. The trend established in this study challenges

scholars‘ assumption that the Post-apartheid Black youth of South Africa are politically apathetic.

Students‘ interest and participation in campus politics suggest that, with effective use of the digital

space that is relatively free, accessible, interactive, and independent of undue control by the state

apparatus, the Black youth can also contribute positively to the South African democratic project.

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APA

Ojebuyi, B (2021). Are the ‘Born-Frees’ Always Politically Apathetic? Social Media Use for Campus Politics by Black Undergraduates of North-West University, Mafikeng, South Africa. Afribary. Retrieved from https://afribary.com/works/are-the-born-frees-always-politically-apathetic-social-media-use-for-campus-politics-by-black-undergraduates-of-north-west-university-mafikeng-south-africa

MLA 8th

Ojebuyi, Babatunde "Are the ‘Born-Frees’ Always Politically Apathetic? Social Media Use for Campus Politics by Black Undergraduates of North-West University, Mafikeng, South Africa" Afribary. Afribary, 21 Apr. 2021, https://afribary.com/works/are-the-born-frees-always-politically-apathetic-social-media-use-for-campus-politics-by-black-undergraduates-of-north-west-university-mafikeng-south-africa. Accessed 23 Mar. 2023.

MLA7

Ojebuyi, Babatunde . "Are the ‘Born-Frees’ Always Politically Apathetic? Social Media Use for Campus Politics by Black Undergraduates of North-West University, Mafikeng, South Africa". Afribary, Afribary, 21 Apr. 2021. Web. 23 Mar. 2023. < https://afribary.com/works/are-the-born-frees-always-politically-apathetic-social-media-use-for-campus-politics-by-black-undergraduates-of-north-west-university-mafikeng-south-africa >.

Chicago

Ojebuyi, Babatunde . "Are the ‘Born-Frees’ Always Politically Apathetic? Social Media Use for Campus Politics by Black Undergraduates of North-West University, Mafikeng, South Africa" Afribary (2021). Accessed March 23, 2023. https://afribary.com/works/are-the-born-frees-always-politically-apathetic-social-media-use-for-campus-politics-by-black-undergraduates-of-north-west-university-mafikeng-south-africa