Texting literacies as social practices among older women

  • Charlyn Dyers University of the Western Cape
Keywords: texting, multiliteracies, older women, social practices, voice, citizenship, Cape Town, township


 While many studies on mobile messaging have tended to focus on the communicative practices of the urban young, this paper considers the role of mobile messaging (also called texting) both as a social practice as well as a form of literacy enhancement among a group of older working class women between the ages of 50 and 80 in a Cape Town township. The paper examines how these women, with little or no formal education, acquire this form of literacy, as well as the purposes for which they use texting. It also explores how this form of late-modern communication is adding to four of their existing or developing literacies – text, numeracy, visual and personal. The paper therefore adopts a multiliteracies approach within the context of portable literacies.

Author Biography

Charlyn Dyers, University of the Western Cape
Charlyn Dyers is an associate professor in Linguistics at the University of the Western Cape.  Her research interests include language attitudes and language ideologies in Africa, urban multilingualism and intercultural communication. A major focus of her research is the discourses and literacy practices of township women in Cape Town. E-mail: cdyers@uwc.ac.za