"I am because we are": developing and nurturing an African digital security culture

Karen Renaud, Stephen Flowerday, Lotfi ben Othmane, Melanie Volkamer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Technical solutions fail if people experience difficulties using them. Sometimes these difficulties force people to work around the security solutions in order to achieve legitimate goals. Improving usability undoubtedly helps, but this has not improved the situation as much as anticipated. In this paper we consider a variety of other reasons for non-uptake.

We argue that this situation can only be addressed by considering the person as a member of the wider community and not as a solitary agent. This aligns with the traditional African wisdom of Ubuntu: “I am because we are”. We propose improving the African Digital Security Culture (ADSC): collective knowledge, common practices, and intuitive common security and privacy behaviour, in a particular society. We suggest a set of approaches for developing and sustaining ADSC in a society, for as members of a society we learn most effectively from each other, not from books, the media or by carrying out searches using search engines.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the African Cyber Citizenship Conference 2015
EditorsJ. F. Van Niekerk
Place of PublicationPort Elizabeth
PublisherNelson Mandela University
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9781920508678
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes
EventAfrican Cyber Citizenship Conference 2015 - Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Duration: 2 Nov 20153 Nov 2015


ConferenceAfrican Cyber Citizenship Conference 2015
Abbreviated titleACCC 2015
Country/TerritorySouth Africa
CityPort Elizabeth


  • Society
  • Information security
  • Ubuntu


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