From Wikimedia ZA
Jump to: navigation, search

For the most recent news, see Latest-News

Wikipedia's 18th Birthday


15th January 2019

Eighteen years ago today Wikipedia was born. Wikipedia first started out as Nupedia, launched on the 9th March 2000, which sought to provide a free online encyclopedia that was curated by experts similar to how traditional encyclopedias were written. Nupedia did not take off and as an experiment before it was shut down Wikipedia was launched. Wikipedia allowed anyone to write and review encyclopedia articles. The English language version was launched on the 15th January 2001 and has grown rapidly since then. Afrikaans language Wikipedia was started a few months later on the 16th November 2001 and now has over 68,000 articles, edited by 910 people, and is viewed 1.6 million times a month.

Wikimedia South Africa celebrates this birthday by encouraging more people to edit and contribute their knowledge to Wikipedia in general and South African languages in particular. Today Wikipedia is available in almost 300 different languages including almost all official South African languages including isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, SiSwati, Tshivenda, and Xitsonga.


Wikimedia ZA Annual General Meeting 2018
The Wikimedia ZA board has elected to host our Annual General Meeting on Saturday the 27th October 2018. Below are the details for the AGM:

  • Time: 17:00 for 17:30
  • Date: Saturday, 27th October 2018
  • Location: Code4Africa offices (top floor), 84 Shortmarket St, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town, 8000 (Map)

For those not in Cape Town, a Google Hangouts link will be announced.

Food and refreshments will be served during the AGM (mostly pizza and drinks).

It will be held after the Wikidata 6th Birthday event in Cape Town and the Education editathon in Johannesburg. Both events end at 15:30.

WikiData 6th birthday
  see also | WikiData Cape Town

  • Location: Code4Africa office (top floor), 84 Shortmarket St, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town, 8000 (Map)
  • Date: Saturday, 27th October 2018
  • Time: 10:00-16:00

Johannesburg editathon
  see also | Education editathon

  • Location: Sci-Bono Discover Centre, Corner of Miriam Makeba & President Street, Newtown, Johannesburg
  • Date: Saturday, 27th October 2018
  • Time: 9:00 to 15:15

Wikimedia ZA group photograph at Wikimania with Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales and Wikimedia Foundation ED Katherian Maher.

Wikimania 2018 group photograph.jpg

Wikimania Cape Town 2018
Wikimania 2018 in Cape Town is now over. As host organisation Wikimedia ZA would like to thank everyone who attended and the many people who helped make this year's event such a success. We would like to give a very special thanks to the Wikimedia Foundation for the technical and financial support to make the event a reality as well as all of our event volunteers. We would also like to thank our event sponsors Interactive Africa, WikiHow and Google as well as supporting organisations such as Wesgro, Goethe Institute and the University of Cape Town.

During this year's Wikimania we welcomed around 700 attendees from 60 countries attending almost 80 presentations and an additional two days of pre-conference events and workshops. A total of 170 news stories in the foreign and local press reported on the event thereby greatly increasing awareness of Wikipedia and the Wikimedia community in South Africa. Exact numbers will be released when the Wikimania 2018 report is released.

Wikimedia ZA increased its membership by almost 40 new members. Wikimedia ZA is still an entirely volunteer organisation but after this event the need to further professionalise the chapter has become clearer to support a larger membership base and the many more organisational partnerships we have developed at the conference.

For a brief outline, filmed at Wikimania, on the theme of the 2018 event check out this video made by the Wikimedia Foundation: Wikimedia 2018: How do we bring free knowledge to everyone around the globe?

WM18 metapage Header.svg

Wikimania 2018 in Cape Town
20 July 2018, Wikimania begins in Cape Town.

As the key organising partner for Wikimania 2018 in Cape Town Wikimedia ZA would like to welcome Wikipedians from all over the world, over 80 countries in total, to the mother city. As of writing this news update the preconference (18 & 19 July) is now over and the main conference is about to begin. The main conference will run from the 20th to the 22nd July 2018. Hosting this event has been the main focus of the South African Chapter for the past two years now. Ever since Cape Town was announced as the host city for Wikimenai 2018 at Wikimania 2016 in Esino Lario, Italy. You can read more about Wikimania 2018 at the event website here.

Extended registration for Wikimania 2018

Registration for Wikimania 2018, being held in Cape Town from July 20, has been extended until July 13. We hope to see you there!

Cape Town & Johannesburg Wiki meetups with Asaf

Asaf Bartov 006 - Wikimedia Foundation Oct11.jpg

Wikimedia South Africa will be hosting a meetup in Cape Town and Johannesburg to welcome Asaf Bartov from the Wikimedia Foundation.
Asaf Bartov from the Wikimedia Foundation (the non-for-profit that runs the servers that Wikipedia is on) will be in Johannesburg from the 25th to the 28th May and in Cape Town from the 28th to the 30th May.

Wikimedia ZA will be hosting two community meeting whilst he is in South Africa. The Johannesburg meetup will take place at the Goethe Institut in Johannesburg. Please see mass message from your Wikipedia talk page or our WikimediaZA Facebook page for dates, times and venue or follow this link.

The chapter will also be hosting a meetup on Tuesday the 29th May from 17:30 to welcome him to Cape Town and introduce him to the community in and around Cape Town. Below are the event details:

  • Date & time: 17:30 onwards, Tuesday, 29th May 2018
  • Venue: Code for Africa, 3rd Floor, 84 Shortmarket Street, Cape Town, 8001.

Asaf will be talking about what new tools have been developed to better edit or use Wiki projects such as, or most notably, Wikipedia. Tools such as Wikidata. He will also be on hand to give a broader overview to people on the free knowledge/Wikipedia community globally.
This will also likely be the last meetup we have before Wikimania (18-22 July 2018) happens in Cape Town.
Finger food and drinks will be served.

ReCreate Copyright Workshop

Copyright workshop to discuss how to amend the SA Copyright at to include Freedom of Panorama and Fair Use. Join us and ReCreate (a network of content creators) to discuss issues relating to amending the Copyright Act which is currently being reviewed by Parliament. Wikimedia South Africa supports Freedom of Panorama and Fair Use to be included into the new version of Copyright Act.

Below are the details of the event:

Date: Thursday, 24th May 2018 Time: 17:30 onwards Location: 3rd Floor, Code for Africa office, 84 Shortmarket St, Cape Town

Wikimania 2018 Scholarship Applications


The South African Wikimedia chapter is awarding a limited number of full and partial scholarships to Wikimedians and free knowledge advocates based in South Africa and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries to attend the Wikimania 2018 conference from 18-22 July 2018 in Cape Town. APPLY NOW!

The full scholarships cover food, hotel, conference registration as well as a round-trip of ground and air travel from any part of South Africa and SADC.

The partial scholarships cover ground and air travel from any part of South Africa and SADC but do not cover accommodation.

What do you need to qualify for the scholarship?

To qualify for the scholarship, you need to be based in South Africa or SADC and be an active Wikipedia editor or be active on other Wikimedia sister projects.

SADC are the 15 Southern African countries that do not need a visa to come to South Africa that include Angola, Botswana, Congo (DR), Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Advocates of open and free knowledge are welcomed to apply as well, they will however need to tell us about the projects they are engaged in and provide us with links/proof to their work.

When are the due dates for applications?

The due date for applications is 30 May 2018. No application received after this date will be considered. After 2 weeks from the closing date we will then let you know of the outcomes of your application. Don’t wait until the last day, click on the link here and apply now!

How to apply for the scholarship?

You can apply for the scholarship by clicking on the link here and completing the application form.

2017 Annual General Meeting

Adress -Douglas- v1 25 march 2015.png

Wikimedia South Africa's Annual General Meeting will be held on Sunday the 26th November 2017. Anyone who contributes to a Wikimedia project (Wikipedia, Wikidata, Wikimedia Commons, WikiNews, Wikiversity, etc.) or WikiHow or Open Street Map in South Africa is eligible to join the Wikimedia ZA chapter and is invited to participate in this Annual General Meeting.

If you are unable to attend the event in person in Cape Town then please let us know at douglas.scott{at}wikimedia.org.za so we can invite you to join us on Google Hangout to participate electronically.


If you would like to attend digitally we will be broadcasting the event over Google Hangouts, to join click on the link here or let us know at douglas.scott{at}wikimedia.org.za.

Date: Sunday, 26 November 2017
Time: 14:00 - 17:00
Location: 6 Spin Street Restaurant (in the Tutu room at the back), ground floor, 6 Spin Street, in the Cape Town city bowl area. (next door to the "Bread, Milk, and Honey" cafe')

The AGM is open to all South African based Wikipedia and other Wikimeddia project editors. Membership is required to vote on resolutions but not required to attend. People are able to sign up as members at the AGM or they can signup before hand at the details on the Wikimedia ZA website.

Proposed Agenda

  • The past
  • 2016/17 year in review
  • Community updates (State of the Wiki ZA, Wikimania 2017, Wikimedia 15 year strategy)
  • Our Simple Annual Grant for 2018
  • The future

Minutes of the meeting can be found here.

Calling for Freedom of Panorama
Wikimedia South Africa calls for Freedom of Panorama to be included into the new South African Copyright Act

A 360 degree photograph of the presentation that Wikimedia ZA representative Douglas Scott gave to the South Africa Parliament motivating the need for Freedom of Panorama to be included into the new Copyright Act. Click here to see the photograph in 360 degrees.

2017 is now almost over and what a year it has been for Wikimedia South Africa. Between being awarded the hosting of Wikimania 2018 in Cape Town and a number of chapter outreach activities we have also been active in advocating for creative commons. I am of course talking about the chapter's efforts to promote Freedom of Panorama in South Africa by advocating for its inclusion into the new version of the South Africa Copyright Act that is being drawn up.

We started on this road back in 2014 when we were informed of a motion to update the copyright act. Our experience hosting Wiki Loves Monuments in the past highlighted the detrimental impact of a lack of Freedom of Panorama in South Africa. The chapter elected to support the call for freedom of panorama and we began engaging with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to get it included into a new version of the act. Despite our efforts and support from the DTI an updated bill presented in early 2017 did not make allowances for Freedom of Panorama.

As such the chapter organised a campaign to get it included when it went up for the second round of public comments in from June-August 2017. This involved a petition campaign with a banner on Wikipedia (with the support of the South African Wikipedia community) as well as a petitions and parliamentary submissions by the chapter. This culminated in a presentation to Parliament on the 2nd August 2017 on the need for Freedom of Panorama which was well received at the time. We have yet to find out if our efforts were successful as the new version of the Copyright bill has not been announced. However the feedback we got in parliament on the issue was promising.

Wikimedia ZA activities in 2015 & 2016 Wikimedia's year end report for 2015 and 2016 are now out.


Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2015–16

First joburg meetup 2016

The 2016 report describes the activities of Wikimedia South Africa during Fiscal Year 2015–16 from December 2015 to December 2016. The report covers such issues at chapter governance, meetups, edit-a-thons, chapter programs and projects, and our financial report. 2016 had smaller scale projects but more edit-a-thons. We also had our first meetup in Johannesburg in 2016.

Chapter activities 2015–16

Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2014–15

1st prize winning photograph from the 2015 Wiki From Above competition.

The 2015 report describes the activities of Wikimedia South Africa during Fiscal Year 2014–15 from December 2014 to December 2015. The report covers such issues at chapter governance, chapter programs and projects, and our financial report.

Chapter activities 2014–15

2016 Annual General Meeting

Adress -Douglas- v1 25 march 2015.png

Wikimedia South Africa's Annual General Meeting will be held on Saturday the 12th November 2016. Anyone who contributes to a Wikimedia project (Wikipedia, Wikidata, Wikimedia Commons, WikiNews, Wikiversity, etc.) or WikiHow or Open Street Map in South Africa is eligible to join the Wikimedia ZA chapter and is invited to participate in this Annual General Meeting.

If you are unable to attend the event in person in Cape Town then please let us know at douglas.scott{at}wikimedia.org.za so we can invite you to join us on Google Hangout to participate electronically.


Date: Saturday, 12th November 2016
Time: 10:00 - 13:00
Location: TwentyFifty, 2nd Floor, 8 Spin Street, Cape Town. (just above the "Bread, Milk, and Honey" cafe')

This event will coincide with Afrikaans Wikipedia's 15th birthday on the 15th November. We plan to host a celebratory event on the 12th or 13th November for Afrikaans Wikipedia's birthday.


  • Administration issues
  • Banking: setting up a second account for fund from sources other than the Wikimedia Foundation and change current account setup
  • Elect new board: VERY IMPORTANT that all board members, past and newly elected, have with them a certified copy of their ID and proof of address both which are less than 2 months old.
  • Summary of 2016: a year of edit-a-thons
  • Wikimania 2018: should we do it?
  • Simple Annual Grant
  • Future activities?
  • Sign the minutes (very important)

Minutes of the meeting can be found here.

Wikipedia Primary School Edit-a-Thon

Edit-a-Thon Participants

Want to make a difference to the foundation phase of Education in South Africa?

Then join us for the first Wikipedia Primary School edit-a-thon to help add and improve articles on Wikipedia that are important to primary school children in South Africa.

Wikipedia is meant to be an education tool but experiences have shown us that once accessible, Wikipedia does not provide information that responds directly to curriculum-based questions. Wikipedia Primary relies on Wikipedia as an existing and growing resource, it solves the need for an encyclopedia capable of responding to curriculum-based questions, and it fosters Wikipedia content, quality and outreach.

The themes for these edit-a-thons are :

South African women leaders and issues around women
South Africa’s indigenous people
Good news stories affecting the youth [e.g., discoveries, inventions and policies]

Dates : 19 and 26 February 2016
Where : American Corner, Central Library, Old Drill Hall, cnr Parade and Darling Streets
Time : 15:00 - 18:00
Cost : Absolutely free

Refreshments and light snacks will be provided.

To read more about this project, please visit the Wikipedia Primary School Programme

Please RSVP for these events via Eventbrite

Wikipedia celebrates 15 years of free knowledge

Wikipedia15 Animated Mark - English.gif

Wikipedians around the world host a global party with events on six continents for Wikipedia’s 15th birthday

Cape Town, South Africa, January 15, 2016 -- Today marks the 15th anniversary of Wikipedia, the world’s free encyclopedia that anyone can edit. This week, editors and readers around the world celebrate free knowledge and the joy it has sparked over the past 15 years. In South Africa we will be marking the anniversary with events in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Wikipedia launched on January 15, 2001 with a bold vision: a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. At the time, the idea that people around the world would collaborate to build an encyclopedia—for free—seemed unbelievable. Since then, Wikipedia has grown to more than 35 million articles in hundreds of languages, used by hundreds of millions of people all over the world. Wikipedia is still built by volunteers around the world: each month, 80,000 volunteer editors contribute to the site.

As of this fifteenth anniversary, 28 percent of the those alive today have never known a world without Wikipedia. While much of the internet has evolved into a private space, Wikipedia serves everyone on Earth, of all backgrounds and ages.

January 15 marks not just the birth of Wikipedia, but the beginning of a movement. Wikipedia is much more than a website. Wikipedia and its sister Wikimedia projects represent a global, ever-expanding resource and community for free knowledge. Here are just a few examples:

Wikipedia started in January 2001 in English, but soon expanded to other languages—within the first year, it grew to 18 languages, including Afrikaans. Today, it is available in hundreds of languages.

Volunteers constantly edit and improve Wikipedia. Every hour, roughly 15,000 edits are made to Wikipedia. Every day, 7,000 new articles are created. Wikipedia became one of the top 10 websites in the world in 2007, and the only non-profit website anywhere near the top. It’s not just Wikipedia. Wikimedia has 11 other free knowledge projects, including the Wikimedia Commons as well as Wiktionary, Wikiquote, Wikispecies, and more. Wiki Loves Monuments (international) and Wiki Loves Monuments South Africa, a global photo competition, was launched in 2010 to document images of cultural heritage. In 2011, the contest was named the largest photo competition in the world. Companion projects, such as Wiki Loves Earth, Wikivoyage, Wiki Loves Africa, and Wiki Loves Cheese, are global photographic competitions focused on other topics. Volunteers around the world have built hundreds of partnerships with galleries, libraries and museums to make institutional collections more broadly available.

"Wikipedia challenged us to rethink how knowledge can be gathered and shared." said Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, "Knowledge is no longer handed down from on high, instead it is freely shared by everyone online. Wikipedia seemed like an impossible idea at the time—an online encyclopaedia that everyone can edit. However, it has surpassed everyone's expectations over the past 15 years, thanks to the hundreds of thousands of volunteers around the world who have made Wikipedia possible."

Today, we celebrate not only Wikipedia, but all of the projects, partnerships, events, and joy it has spurred over the past 15 years, with many still to come. The Wikimedia community of editors around the world are hosting parties, conferences, and other events to bring together community members and celebrate Wikipedia’s 15th birthday. In South Africa we are using this opportunity to encourage more South Africans from all communities and backgrounds to edit Wikipedia.

You can use social media to tell us what Wikipedia means to you by tagging @Wikipedia and using the hashtag #wikipedia15.

About Wikipedia Wikipedia is the largest collection of collaboratively built free knowledge in human history. It is a collaborative creation that has been added to and edited by millions of people from around the globe since it was created in 2001: anyone can edit it, at any time. Wikipedia is offered in hundreds of languages and contains more than 35 million articles. Each month, it receives more than 15 billion pageviews. Wikipedia’s content is contributed and edited by a community of around 80,000 volunteer editors each month.

Wikimedia ZA is an independent volunteer driven non-profit organisation for Wikimedia project editors in South Africa. It exists to promote and support the editing of Wikimedia projects such as Wikipedia.

Press contact Douglas Scott at +27 079 515 8727 for press enquiries.

English Wikipedia: five million articles

English Wikipedia five million articles heading.png

Today, 1 November 2015, the 5 millionth article was created on English language Wikipedia about Persoonia terminalis -an Australian shrub- by long time Wikipedia editor Cas Liber. For more information about this momentous event in the Wikipedia community see the press statement by the Wikimedia Foundation at the link here.

The 5,000,000 articles on English language Wikipedia would not have been possible without the 126,672 active editors and 1,329 administrators who have collectively made over 790,000,000 edits on the wiki. Currently Wikipedia is the 7th most popular website on the internet with only Google, Facebook, YouTube, Baidu (a Chinese search engine), Yahoo, and Amazon beating the online encyclopaedia in the rankings.

According to Wiki Project South Africa there are just over 20,000 articles on English language Wikipedia about the country. Afrikaans language Wikipedia currently has 37,534 articles with 163 active editors and 11 administrators. Other South African language Wikipedia's are much smaller and in great need of an active editing community with languages such as North Sotho (2,687 articles), Sesotho (292 articles), Zulu (696 articles), Xhosa (417 articles), Venda (186 articles), and Tsonga (281 articles) having a Wikipedia in their respective languages. We would like to encourage all South Africans to contribute more to Wikipedia by editing articles, especially if they are in one of the less active language Wikipedias or about South African content or African content generally. There is a need for more editors from South Africa to help add content to Wikipedia.

Personal tools

Get Involved
Wikimania 2018