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The Impact of Digitization Upon Traditional Southern African and Southern Pacific Ocean Cultures

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It is a well-known fact that digital technology is hardly hampered by traditional geographic borders. There is perhaps no better example of this observation than the ways in which certain regions of the world are being constantly transformed. For example, it is estimated that 106 new Internet accounts are created every minute within the region of Sub-Saharan Africa. The impacts of digitisation are therefore far and wide; promising a bright future within sections of the world that might otherwise appear to be lagging behind when compared to their first-world counterparts. How will a growing reliance upon digital technology impact regions such as the southern portion of Africa and the South Pacific? Let’s draw a handful of general conclusions to shed some light on the not-so-distant future.

One-Click Access to Culture

One of the features of the digitalization of culture is the ability to preserve traditional options that were falling into disuse. Adapting Ki-o-rahi, a traditional New Zealand game, to the virtual world could be highly beneficial. Leveraging the latest in VR/AR technology, this adaptation could retain many of the game’s key physical features, helping to preserve its legacy in New Zealand. Furthermore, this virtual version has the potential to introduce Ki-o-rahi to new audiences worldwide. Digitalization has also seen classic roulette tables adapt to the online world, thus, the adaptation represents another alternative for preserving traditional games.

But traditional games are not the only part profiting from the digitalization of Southern African and Southern Pacific Ocean culture. Traditions from the natives of these parts of the world can be shared through the online world, thus, making it well known and preserving it for future generations.

A Much-Needed Economic Boost

Many regions throughout Africa and the Southern Pacific relied upon local trade in order to enjoy economic stability in the past. Access to the digital domain now opens up the possibility to tap into a truly global marketplace. Not only can this provide an additional source of income, but it offers previously isolated cultures the opportunity to present their unique products and services to the outside world. This money can then be channeled into practical concerns such as education, sanitation and infrastructure improvements, very well needed in some parts of these regions.

Fewer Feelings of Isolation

Certain regions of the world such as the South Pacific are extremely isolated from the outside world due to geographical distances alone. In the past, this made it difficult for cultures to communicate with foreign nations and even sending a letter might have required weeks before it reached its recipient. Digitisation helps to ablate long distances. This allows individuals and families to immediately reach out to the world around them. Not only are such possibilities beneficial in terms of interpersonal relations, but they can be vital in the event of conveying the severity of an emergency such as a natural disaster.

While some will argue that digitisation may begin to dilute traditional cultures of Southern Africa and the South Pacific, the associated benefits need to be weighed against the potential risks. Either way, the digital world is here to stay and it will soon impact even the most remote regions.