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Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of Wikimedia South Africa - 1 November 2014



The meeting was held at the WMZA office, Level 1, Truth Coffee Shop, Cape Town.


11:30am to 15:30pm

Opening and Welcoming

The meeting is opened and members welcomed by the current president, Dumisani Ndubane.


The meeting has a quorum.

Approval of previous meeting minutes

The minutes of the Previous AGM was approved.


The professionalisation of the organisation has led to various activities during the course of 2014.

Key issues that are to be addressed during this meeting :

  • future activities
  • how to increase membership
  • changes to the Board

A special thank you to Deon Steyn from the Afrikaans Wikipedia community who has agreed to become a Director. WMZA is very serious about representing all the languages of South Africa and Afrikaans is a significant part of the editing community in South Africa. The first step towards this is the appointment of an Afrikaans speaking Director to represent the Afrikaans wiki community.

During the past year, WMZA has been able to do more projects than in the previous year. In the past, we only had a maximum of 2 projects, and even these were difficult due to a lack of capacity. These restrictions also did not allow opportunities for general outreach, edit-a-thons and other things we wanted to achieve. The appointment of the Administrator in December saw the dramatic increase of activities from 2 to 15 engaged in during the past year. Funding for this position comes to an end at the end of November, and the aim is to apply for FDC funding to continue the position.

As FDC Funding for Round 2 will only happen towards the middle of 2015, the Chapter is going to apply for Bridging Finance from the WMF. To date we have had no response from the Open Society Foundation on our application for continued funding.

FDC funding entails the application of an annual lump sum amount. This amount is to cover the general running of the Chapter in terms of projects, logistics and staffing. It is very important that the Chapter has a clear direction of the future in terms of projects in the works and personnel required. It is important to note that once an FDC grant is allocated, no further PEG grants can be applied for.

The application for Bridging Finance will be done as soon as possible but has been discussed in principle with the Foundation. Seeking other funding sources has once again been highlighted as an essential strategy for the year ahead.

Administrative Achievements over the year

Wikimedia is currently registered as an NPC. Since the appointment of the Administrator, the Chapter has complied with the following requirements :

  • PAYE registration
  • SARS registration
  • VAT registration (pending)
  • Section 18a satus (pending) - we believe that this is a very good selling point for potential funders
  • Update of Company Documents
  • Appointment of new laywers
  • NPO registration (pending)
  • Monthly Payroll system
  • Business banking (pending)
  • Petty Cash System
  • Online Filing System via Dropbox

The first audit will take place during the week of 3 November.

It is very important to get to a point where we were professionally set up. This would facilitate access to grants from donors and other professional entities. Getting all these things in place were not previously possible due to a lack of capacity. WMZA is now a legal entity with the capacity to run on it's own. We have come a long way, but we do still have some way to go to be on par with similar organisations.

Projects in 2014

Compared to two projects in the previous year, we have this year had an increase in the number of projects. We would also like to thank Heritage Western Cape for their support this year.

Wiki Loves Monuments

The award ceremony of WLM will be happening later this evening at The Slave Church, 40 Long Street. This photographic competition invites members of the public to take photographs of monuments, especially registered monuments. We had a problem this year as we were hoping for more photographs of non registered monuments, especially those recently built.

Due to the way the Copyright Act is written, we were unable to accept photographs as the copyright of these monuments do not belong to the individual who take the photographs. Copyright belongs to the person who owns the monument. If a monument is more than 50 years old, there is no issue. If it is a newer monument, it cannot be donated to Commons. This increased our awareness and encouraged us to lobby government to amend the act going forward.

We are coordinating an effort with Creative Commons SA to assist in amending the act. They are specifically set up to do this. We want to raise awareness and let them work their magic to ensure that we are allowed to take photographs such as these. The WMF takes strict policy on copyright. They will just not put it up. What the law does allow, is that you can take a video of a museum, take a still and submit it. That will be acceptable. The law explicitly says that film footage is exempt. Photographs are however not included and this causes ambiguity. This was a big blow to our campaign. We feel that it is crazy to follow a law written in 1978. The question is raised on how this compares to Flickr. It is clear that people are unaware of this sub section in the Act. You will see photographs of public art work, the Cape Town Stadium etc, and no one challenges them. It will be used because people don't know they are violating copyright. Some photographs on Wikipedia link to Flickr. The suggestion is that we manipulate the Flickr copyright but it is agreed that this could cause major issues in future and was dismissed.

It is made clear that for the purpose of commercial benefit you could also not use these images. Specifically because Commons says you can use the photographs as you wish. The question is if there is a template that one can use to give permission to use photographs. There is a guideline only. It is worthwhile to draw up such a template which people could use. WMZA to determine the requirements based on current projects - WLM, JBP and Kaapedia.

There is a decline in the number of submissions, but an increase in the number of participants. We aimed to increase the quality of images and we believe that we have done that. We have also increased the range of photographs taken and have seen a good increase in media coverage.

In general we are happy with the outcome of the competition this year. Just for some history, this was our first project as a chapter. In 2012 we wanted to see if we could run the competition. We didn't have the number of participants or submissions, but we achieved our objective to say we have capacity to run the competition. The second year saw increased submissions and we were among the top 15 in the world. This year we wanted increased quality. We need to determine what the next step is, do we decentralise by province? Some feel that this competition might die out on the international front.

As a Chapter we need to make a decision as this project gives us the most impact as a chapter. We need to think ahead now. The increased media coverage raises awareness of Wikimedia ZA and has raised questions about the chapter. The competition is a good marketing platform. Another feeling is that perhaps we should not rethink it all, but stick to the formula that works. We do however need to increase the number of participants. We need to look at the output, and determine what we want to achieve. WLM internationally has had a decrease in submissions this year. The question is what can WLM still achieve? There are a lot of countries that have not yet participated, so it still has room for a lot of improvement. We need to find a use for it in a local scenario. It is achieving this locally and if it is, we should run with it, without changing the winning formula. WMZA should take the leap of coming up with a uniquely South African project. A lot of Wiki Loves (xxxx) competitions have sprouted from WLM. Organizing our own Wiki Loves is one of the things we are considering doing. South Africans are interested in photographing Animals , we have to identify what the animals are.

One of the questions raised is how long the relationship with ORMS will last. They have been helpful in helping us contact more photographers via the Orms mailing list. That could be why the quality has improved.


Last year we identified 12 buildings although only 10 plaques were installed. Wikimedia CH assisted us with these plaques. We established a good relationship with the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation. The problem at the moment is people want to demolish old buildings and the JHF has been assisting in stopping this. We had a good contact at the City of Joburg. Unfortunately he's report structure has changed so he can't assist us anymore. There is now a lot of red tape involved.

In 2014 we built on our contacts at the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation. Bobby was appointed as the first Wikipedian in Residence who has working through their archives. Bobby has been digitising these archives and creating Wikipedia stubs. It has been a tedious process. All the archival material is very old and staff are not computer literate. It has been very interesting to dig through the archives. Flo Bird who is our contact, is a very good source of information.

We had to create a system with how we can integrate with their system. We plan to take the relationship further next year as they have a lot to offer Wikipedia. They are starting to realise the importance of digitising this information.

This year we also introduced the Joburgpedia Writing contest but it was not very successful. The question is how do we restrategise this so that we will encourage entries.

Currently oral citations are not generally accepted onto Wikipedia. One of the ways around it is to record a citation and then transcribe it onto a Wiki. One of the issues is proving notability. It is important to note that all digitisation efforts are now in Wikipedia and not in Wikidata. They will have to be linked. It will be beneficial to get oral citations approved as this is an important link to historical documents.

WMZA to investigate the option of replacing QR codes. There is an application that takes a picture and then tells you the story.

Wikimania 2015 Bid

This is the official Wikipedia / Wikimedia gathering internationally. The decision was between South African and Mexico. It was the closest bid in history. One of our downfalls is that we could not secure a free venue. The bid was awarded to Mexico City. We will bid again in future.

Wiki Indaba

The purpose of this conference was intended to be a mini Wikimania for Africa. Representatives from 13 countries attended. The aim was to draw on African strategy.

WMZA don't consider our efforts as successful because the people who attend were disconnected from our goal. If we plan a similar event again, this is one of the things we would like to address. We want to see Wikipedia from an African point of view.

We wanted a collaborative effort with Africa and aim to start driving what policies should be applied to Africa specifically. Some arguments were rehased at Wikimania 2014. We spent approximately R 500 000.00 on the project. Another issue that we need to address is that Afrikaans speaking contributors need to be involved in all these future projects. Especially if they live close to the event.

If we want to organise a similar event, we have learned valuable lessons. It is suggested that this event is hosted every second year. This will justify the cost of the event and will allow time for activities to take place. We need to keep contact with people during the year. We can use the gap year to expand editors.

As a chapter we are not happy with the follow up after the conference. Although SA is sometimes seen as bossy, we were seen as the ones who would take a leadership role to assist Africa to start their own communities.

GLAM Libraries

A series of edit-thons were done in July, August and September. This was done with Western Cape Libraries with the aim of increasing the number of editors and contributors. LIASA would want to perhaps roll it out around the country but we will need to see what happens next year.

Wikipedia Zero

The aim is to provide access to Wikipedia for free. Sinenjongo High School are the heroes of this story. South African operators ignored their request but the Wikimedia Foundation caught onto the story and sparked interest from MTN.

They allowed access during school hours as long as you use their Opera mini browser. We would like to move towards free access on all networks. Unfortunately people don't like the Opera mini browser but it is a first step. Vodacom might be on board. The DG Meyer Trust is currently also working on zero rated data access. Wikipedia could be endorsed as an official site. There are currently a few issues that need to be addressed.

This ties up with the Kiwix project which is an offline server for access to Wikipedia. The first grant application has been approved to set the first of these systems up in Sinenjongo High. The Swiss will be sending us the two units. Current cost is R 5 000.00 per unit.

We should lobby this with other parties such as libraries who would be interested in this roll out. WMZA to approach them as well. Talk to the Library Association as well as the Department of Education. Make contact with LIASA and if not successful, Andrew can assist. The systems can be mailed to us for updates or they could just be done electronically via flashdrives. The Chapter to is to request statistics from Adele Vrana on Wikipedia Zero hits.

Xhosa Project

Despite our best efforts the project did not success in academic circles but Sinenjongo High School continues to have their workshops.

Wiki Meetups

Once every 3 months, on the first Sunday Cape Town hosts a meetup. We should have meetups in Joburg as well.

Open Book Festival

During the Open book Festival (in cooperation with The Book Lounge) we arranged Edit-a-thons for SA literature figures. This was also seen as an opportunity to introduce people to Wikipedia.

Projects in 2015

Most of the projects of 2014 will be continued in 2015. Kaapedia will be discussed with Heritage Western Cape.


It is agreed that R 30.00 per annum is the membership fee. Members wishing to join for a lifetime is allowed to do so at a cost of R 300.00. Membership will now be managed by the Administrator and members allocated a membership number using their username. Reminders for renewal of membership will be sent out when due.

The following members have renewed their membership :

  • Lifetime Membership
Andrew Hall
  • Yearly Membership (2014/2015)
Pria Chetty (Director)
Deon Steyn (Director)
Michael Graaff
Bobby Shabangu (Director)
Dumisani Ndubane (Director)
Theresa Hume (Administrator)
Tobias Schonwetter

A mail will be sent to the mailing list with more information.

Strategy Formulation

Members are asked for input on strategies to increase the involvement of South Africans in editing Wikipedia and / or other Wiki's.

In the past we have attempted to do this by :

  • Direct mail - doesn't work.
  • Projects - provide opportunities to connect but it is not enough and not effective.

Vast majority of people only edit and don't have a gathering platform. They are interested in the chapter but not necessarily interested in attending meetings. The Wikimedia Foundation is constantly looking for people who can edit and contribute. Sparking that initial interest is difficult. Every now and then people pop up. The English Wikipedia is not a friendly environment for editors. Contributions from other languages are more readily acceptable.

One of the issues is that we need to get out of is the tendency to think Wikimedia is Wikipedia. We are entering the age of data. The City of Cape Town has an open data policy. There are other wiki's instead of Wikipedia.

Wikidata is also very important. We should put everything pertaining to entities etc, simultaneously into Wiki Data. All Wikipedias to link to Wiki Data. People that only contribute to Commons will be interested to contribute to WikiData. Michael Graaf volunteers to be a champion to run with this project. WikiData has a lot of potential. Workshops can be held with editors who are interested and people who are not editors yet. We need to encourage them to become Wikidata editors. We need to make the distinction between the two, it has to be a strategic shift. Direct people who enquire about languages to Wiki Data who can rather be asked to translate here. There are also auto translate options. Put the information on here first and then this coudld be used to develop languages. Can this be linked to Visual Editors? This must be discussed with WM Deutschland.

Should we be looking for new partners or editors? No intensive training has been done in South Africa. Editors need to feel that the contribution they have made has made a difference, otherwise they have waisted their time. We can piggyback off people who have the strategy. We should not base the size of the chapter on the number of active editors. The Wikimedia Foundation seems to think that this is important. People who are editors are not necessarily good members of an organisation. They are usually not interested in activities as they like doing their own thing. There is a need to recruit people to do editing but for organisational skills you need people who believe in Wikipedia and who are not necessarily editors themselves. Some people would only be intersted from a technological aspect. We need to understand the different dimensions. There are some intersted in content, some in how it works. We need to think about the different communities. There must be two questions - active contributors in South Africa - membership of WMZA. There are a lot of enthusiastic people who start off well but don't continue. They stop editing / contributing. Perhaps look at the things they have translated / contributed in the past and suggest things that they could do. You have to keep the interest going.

The language communities are very small. Perhaps partner up with Universities or similar institutuions - people are not always aware. We are the organisation trying to find a midway to achieve both goals. Support active editors so that we can assist them with any issues they may be experiencing. How do we prepare ourselves for project related outputs and support. List of WMZA people able to assist with your query - a - b - c - should get another Administrator in South Africa. If we could get incubator to work properly, that would help a lot. Checks and edits can be done before something enters Wikipedia.

-Increasing new memberships - incubators, partner driven approach, definition of what is an editor, Wikidata.
-Increasing existing editors - Mailing lists. Social media platforms, banner ads. How else do we connect? Perhaps more wiki-based.
-Invite editors to specific projects. People like to feel they belong to something eg SA Portal. Wikimedia ZA info box on your profile. Douglas to make it. People spend a lot of time on their userpage. Infobox. If you have paid your membership fee, you can use this on your userpage.
-Existing relationship with media houses. The partnerships must fit so we are weary of media houses. Suggestion of getting a champion for example at the Mail & Guardian who are interested in promoting free access.
-Currently board of directors are free to unilaterilly apply for PEG grant. Once we have FDC grant we would need to know upfront so that we can plan for this. As an individual you can still apply for funding on your own. WMZA is here to support all efforts to advocate and publicise initiatives. Be bold, act on ideas.

Proposed Strategies are :

  • Acknowledge other languages
  • Explore users below 18 who might have an affinity for contributing
  • Expand on Wiki Data - Discuss with WM Deutschland
  • Looking for new editors or partners
  • Suggestions to contributors on translations and contributions
  • Partner with Universities for smaller language projects
  • Support active editors - list of members who can assist
  • Getting the Incubator to work properly
  • Increasing new membership
  • Increasing existing editors
  • Invite editors to specific projects
  • Expand on relationships with media houses
  • Support all efforts to advocate and publicize initiatives

Elections of Directors - 2014/2015

Douglas, Bobby and Dumi confirm that they are eligible for re-election.

Pria Chetty and Deon Steyn are nominated.

Members vote unanimously for the appointment of the following to the Board of Trustees :

Douglas Scott
Bobby Shabangu
Dumisani Ndubane
Pria Chetty
Deon Steyn
Isla Haddow-Flood (to be confirmed)

It is not clear if Isla has made herself available for re-election. A mail will be sent to her asking if she is willing to stand another term. There are some issues regarding a possible conflict of interest as she works with the Africa Centre.

The resignation of Maarten Deneckere and David Richfield is accepted.

Dumisani nominates Douglas as President and this is seconded by Pria. The members unanimously agree to his appointment as president for the 2014 / 2015 year.

Actions arising from this meeting

No. Action Responsible Person
1 Template for Permission to Use photographs Pria / Douglas
2 Lobbying change in Freedom of Panorama Act Douglas / Creative Commons
3 The way forward for Wiki Loves Monuments All
4 Link Joburgpedia articles to WikiData Bobby
5 Replacement of QR codes (Joburgpedia 2015) Bobby / Dumi
6 Mail about membership fees Theresa
7 Wiki Meetups in Johannesburg Dumi / Bobby / Deon
8 Statistics for Wikipedia Zero from Adele Vrana Theresa
9 Lobbying Kiwix Units to Libraries and Department of Education Douglas / Theresa
10 WMZA infobox for SA userspages Douglas
11 Expansion of other languages - Afrikaans as first step Deon / Theresa
12 Explore users below 18 All
13 Expansion of Wiki Data Douglas / Michael
15 Suggestions to contributors on translations and contributions All
16 Partnerships with Universities for smaller language projects All
17 Support to active editors All
18 Getting the Incubator Working Douglas / Theresa
19 Expand on relationships with media houses Douglas / Deon / Theresa
20 Support all efforts to advocate and publicize initiatives All

Next AGM

To be advised via mailing list.


Board Member Signature Date
Douglas Scott
Dumisani Ndubane
Bobby Shabangu
Pria Chetty
Deon Steyn
Isla Haddow-Flood

The etherpad for this meeting can be viewed here

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