A handphone, hand held phone or cell phone, sometimes shortened to just handphone, handphone or hand cell, and sometimes called by other names, is a compact, lightweight phone that also makes and receives calls on a small radio frequency network while the user is in a call service area. Handphones generally have larger display screens than cell phones, and they are usually smaller than most home telephones. The most common type of handphone is the disposable one-hand style. These hand phones can be carried in the pocket or purse and are also often seen in advertising campaigns and as a giveaway in high profile events.
In some parts of South Africa, particularly Cape Town, handphones are treated with respect and given as awards and recognition for distinguished service. As well as handbags, handphones are given as gifts at family reunions, birthday parties, weddings and any other occasion where there is an opportunity to handpick a gift. It is interesting to note that the low Kay Maori term handphone referred to a specific type of handphone that was used by the Maori people and their tribe members to communicate while hunting. The original handphone design was made out of hollow bamboo and called a ‘kangaroo tail’ because of its shape. Today the term handphone is commonly used to refer to any mobile phone and is applied to handheld phones as well.
In South Africa, handphone use is widespread and accepted in many communities, although it is not the norm for a handphone to be handed out with the cell phone. As a result, in some areas, handing a handphone to someone is considered rude, and seen as a disrespectful gesture, whereas handing over a cell phone to someone who does not have a handphone is seen as acceptable. In general, a handphone is a handy tool which is used by a lot of people, especially in rural communities, and should therefore be given freely without being treated as an ordinary object.