Dr Katunga completed a doctoral degree between UWC and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), while interning at the Western Cape CoLab for eInclusion and Social Innovation. Dr Natasha Katunga is a digital and social media enthusiast who divides her time between exploring social media, her PhD study, working at the CoLab and watching Star Trek TNG in that order. She has a strong personal interest in technology, particularly how it can be used to support development and empower citizens. Her Masters study aimed to support marginalised small business owners by documenting the electronic resources available to them and specifying the digital skills needed to utilise them. She furthers her ‘save the world with technology’ quest as a researcher at the CoLab where she participates in projects and initiatives that promote digital and social inclusion, mostly among marginalised people in previously disadvantaged areas of the Western Cape.
Natasha’s PhD study explores the use of social media tools that have become popular means of creating, receiving and sharing information. The study focuses on the use of these tools by e-inclusion intermediaries such as telecentres to support community development in previously disadvantaged communities of the Western Cape. Marginalised people in these communities face social and economic challenges such as unemployment, poverty and inequality. They are in need of effective support. The study thus contributes fresh insights into how technologies such as social media can be utilised to support marginalised people and address the challenges they face. The key focus areas of the study include ICT4D, social change and communication for development.