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Gallery: 21 African postal stamps that commemorate technology

June 19, 2011  »  UncategorizedNo Comment

How many African postal stamps pay homage to the computer? Five? Ten? Fifty? According to Vito Galgano’s collection over at Computer-Stamps.com, there are at least 134 such stamps. Many highlight international anniversaries, others honor international efforts to promote technology, and others depict space programs. Notable African postal stamp issues came on World Telecommunications Day (1977), World Communications Year (1983-4), the UN’s ‘Dialogue among civilizations’ (2001), and Philexafrique (1985).

south africa digital divide

SA 2010. {StampsWiki}

Interesting is how numerous African nations honored the computer via postage stamp, even if 1) few computers existed in the private sector and 2) postal services themselves were lacking or not widely used. In the past, an internationally initiated postal stamp issue (which constitute a large share of computer-themed African stamps) generally did not reflect the computing situation on the ground. Instead, these stamps commemorate an international initiative. They use an image that relates to that international theme – even if said theme is in its early stages in the issuing African nation.

Certainly the idea behind any computing stamp is to raise awareness of the power of technology. Still, the casual observer (if there is such a person interested in stamps) may get the wrong idea about how far technology has actually reached in Africa.

Examples of African stamps that commemorate technology can be found in the gallery below. Recent stamps hail from Botswana, Liberia, Namibia, Morocco, South Africa, and Swaziland. All images are from Vito Galgano, Computer-Stamps.com:


Also noteworthy is how Libya, Djibouti, Gabon, and Mali have issued more than 5 computer stamps a piece – and many were issued before the year 2000 . According to March 2011 ITU stats, these nations boast Internet penetration rates of 5.4%, 7%, 6.3%, and 1.8%, respectively.

Note: No computer stamps were found for 21 African nations/islands.