The changing face of election campaigning in Africa

Martin N. Ndlela*, Winston Mano

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


The interplay between media and politics is central to any understanding of political campaigning. Indeed, researchers argue that politics is communication and media are central to the mediation of politics. For many years, African politics suffered through a dearth of mass media, which often was government-controlled and had limited penetration beyond urban centres. Election campaigning was limited to a few media outlets, as well as local rallies and door-to-door canvasing. The media ecology, dominated by state-owned media and broadcasting monopolies, advantaged the incumbent parties. The rise in the penetration of smartphones and mobile internet is fundamentally changing the political communication landscape in much of Africa. This introductory chapter discusses the advent of social media and its implications for election campaigning in Africa. It argues that social media is disrupting well-established forms of elite control over the media. It is creating new methods of election campaigning and transforming how citizens interact with political messages. Social media is a potential game changer to election processes in Africa, bringing with it new opportunities but also new challenges.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSocial Media and Elections in Africa, Volume 1
Subtitle of host publicationTheoretical Perspectives and Election Campaigns
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9783030305536
ISBN (Print)9783030305529
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Campaigning
  • Elections
  • Media ecology
  • Political communication
  • Social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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