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Are Africa's development failures due to cultural irrationality or the manner of development? : towards a theory of sustainable community development through communication.

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This study is an analysis of the implications of the manner of development, decision making and communication therein on Africa's development performance since the 1950s. It sought to establish the causes of development failures in Sub-Saharan Africa and to explore a way for sustainable community development. Four hypotheses were set: • First, Africa's development failures are due to cultural irrationality, as many modernisation theorists have suggested, including Goran Hyden (1980: 3-4) who asserts that "Africa's underdevelopment lies in the persistence of its pre-modern and pre-capitalist practices and structures" and Ulf Himmelstrand (1994: 25) with his "European superiority" notion; • Second, Africa's development failures are due to the exclusionary manner of development; • Third, as justification for the exclusionary manner of development, community participation in development could lead to disorder and paralyse governmental delivery capacities (Huntington, 1991), and • Lastly, community participation is untenable because communitarian values no longer exist in African communities. This study is in two parts. Part One verifies the first two hypotheses through reviewing the literature. Part Two verifies the last two hypotheses using field research data.


Thesis (Ph.D.)-University of Natal, Durban, 1999.


Community development--Africa--Citizen participation., Communication in community development--Africa., Sustainable development--Africa., Theses--Culture, communication and media studies.