Rest of World spoke to people from around the globe about their nation’s internet cafes and how what they mean to them:
Internet cafes were more than just places to log on. They emerged in the waning years of the 20th century — a post-Cold War moment full of techno-optimism. Sharing a global resource like the internet “was going to bring different people in different cultures together in mutual understanding,” historian and author Margaret O’Mara told Rest of World. It was an era in which, both physically and digitally, “people were moving across borders that before were very difficult, if not impossible, to cross.”
The nations in question include China, Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, Nepal, Argentina, and Mexico. Internet cafes and, before that, my local libraries, offered me hours of internet access in my formative years. I’m grateful for places like that.