Hello everyone,


This year we at Wikimedia ZA have taken the big step of properly setting ourselves up as a fully formed Wikimedia Chapter.  2013 has been a very big and busy year for us in this regard and I want to share with all of you what we have been up to this past year. This is the first of what we hope to be a regular monthly update for everyone based in or with a strong interest in South Africa and contributing to the many different Wiki based projects that fall within the Wikimedia Foundation family such as Wikipedia, Wiki-Commons, Wikidata, and Wikinews to name a few.


In brief

In 2013, we have done the following:


Some other highlights for Wikimedia ZA and the Wiki community in 2013 include:


Some things planned for 2014:
  • Bidding for Cape Town to host Wikimania in 2015
  • Hosting WikiIndaba (Africa’s Wikimania)
  • Launching a Cape Town version of Joburgpedia in 2014/2015
  • Hosting another Wiki Loves Monuments completion and possibly expanding on the concept by introducing another ‘Wiki Loves’ photographic competition.
  • Cape Town Wiki-meetup in February


Wiki Loves Monuments South Africa 2013

The Wiki Loves Monuments competition in South Africa ended off on a high note with the Award Ceremony on Saturday, 23 November 2013 at the Premier Hotel in Midrand.  A total of 89 participants entered this year with a total submission of 6,432 photographs. This is a fantastic increase from the 1,858 submitted last year and exceeded our target for 2013 of 5,000 photographs by 22%! 





Title of Work


First Place

Valley of Desolation-013

Leo za1

Second Place

Arthur Nathan

Leandri van Heerden

Third Place

Boschendal Various.09

Chris Snelling

Most Entries

1 677 Photographs

Leo za1

Best Picture of a proposed monument

Port Elizabeth Cape Receife Lighthouse

Suzi-k (Sue Hoppe)


The winning photographs from South Africa as well as other parts of the world can be viewed here.

Wiki Loves Monuments 2014
For the 2014 Wiki Loves Monuments we plan to focus less on the quantity of images submitted and rather focus on increasing the number participants and quality of submitted photographs.  We will still encourage people to submit any and all photographs they might wish to submit of monuments (both registered and proposed) but we will also seek to better inform people outside of the Wiki-movement about this competition.
New audiences of particular focus to us in 2014 are photographers (both professional and hobbyists) and students (particularly college and university students).   

Our newest competition partner, Orms, has very strong links with the photographic community in South Africa and has agreed to lend their support in helping to publicise this event.   So far we have also connected with a few teachers at universities and colleges about building in Wiki Loves Monuments into their courses and informing their students of the event.  We also want to connect with photographic societies both at institutions of learning as well as ones dedicated to hobbyists and professionals. 


One of the most valuable things we have managed to get over the past two Wiki Loves Monuments competitions is a mailing list of media, organisational, and professional contacts which we can use to inform the general public of this event.  It is a resource that we look forward to expanding on and using again in the future. 


If you or anyone you know might be interested in supporting Wiki Loves Monuments in 2014 please do not hesitate to let us know at douglas@wikimedia.org.za.



Joburgpedia is a success story that showcases Wikimedia South Africa's efforts to work together with local organisations and government.  With the support the City of Johannesburg, the Joburgpedia project was designed to increase exposure of iconic historical sites in the city.

Joburgpedia was initially launched as a pilot project, covering twelve strategic sites, with plans to expand next year.  Coverage of these sites has seen an increase on Wikipedia articles edited in indigenous languages, particularly in the case of the Gandhi House in Orchards, showing the immense potential this kind of project can have, both in terms of increase coverage of our heritage, but also in providing content in African languages.

Modelled on MonmouthpediA the project installed, hight quality, durable Quick Response code (QR) tiles next to the blue historical plaques installed by the City of Johannesburg.  When a user scans the code with a smartphone, the Wikipedia article related to the heritage site is displayed in the language the phone is set to.

Open Society Foundation for South Africa – First Full Time Employee


The single largest limiting factor facing the chapter prior to 1 December 2013 was a lack of time and organisational capacity within the existing Wikimedia ZA organisation to effectually implement all of the projects that the chapter would like to activate.


An application was made to the Open Society Foundation for South Africa to fund one full time employee to form the nucleus of an organised, focused, effective and more professionalised chapter that will deepen Wikimedia ZA's capabilities to fulfil its objectives and obligations to local Wikimedians.


After much review, introspection, analysis, and discussion Theresa Hume has been appointed as Administrator as from 1 December 2013.  Theresa has over 17 years’ experience in both logistical and administration activities that we are looking for to move the chapter forward.


Mandela coverage

On 5 December 2013 former president and father of the modern South African nation Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela passed away. This sad but deeply important occasion was of global significance and of particular importance to South Africa. In order to properly record this event, Wikimedia ZA decided to send two Wikimedians to cover the event for the greater Wiki-community.


On the 9th, 10th and the 11th of December 2013 Wikimedia ZA sent two team members to cover the 10 day mourning period for former president Mandela in Gauteng. Our two Wikimedia correspondents got together in Johannesburg to apply for press cards, and then went on to apply for the media accreditation required to attend proceedings.


On the 10th the team attended the memorial held at FNB Stadium in Soweto (Soccer City) along with thousands of others attending the service. Unfortunately only selected media houses were able to capture diplomats and VIP guests, but the team was able to capture many photographs of groups and individuals attending the ceremony. We also made a recording to try and capture the spirit in the stadium.


The Wikiteam joined international and local media houses at the Union Buildings in Pretoria to witness the ‘lying in state’ period. However a spokesperson for the presidency advised that only a pre-selected list of media would be granted access to the auditorium where the body was held. We were later granted access with the general public but no cameras or recording devices were allowed. Considering that a pre-determined attendance list was already in place, the team decided it would not be beneficial to cover the proceedings at Qunu.


Photographs of these days can be found on Commons in the category: Death and state funeral of Nelson Mandela.


In addition to taking photographs of the event we also:

  • Published an article on Wikinews
  • Recorded two video reports for Wikinews

o   Interview with Jackson Mthembu

o   Clement Khanye reporting from Union Buildings


Planned projects for 2014

Wikimania 2015

Wikimedia ZA is bidding to host Wikimania 2015 in Cape Town. Find out more at https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimania_2015_bids/Cape_Town


The envisioned theme can be summarized as one of bridging divides. In many ways the diverse (ethnically, linguistically and economically diverse) yet divided communities that make up Cape Town provide a microcosm of the divides that the Wikimedia community is striving to overcome on an international level in an effort to make the 'sum total of human knowledge accessible to everyone everywhere for free' one step closer to becoming a possibility. The will and desire to bridge these divides, both in Cape Town (and South Africa at large) as well as within the Wiki-community is there; bridging and expanding on this willingness. 

This vision can be divided into three key objectives:
  • Bridging the divide between the Northern Hemisphere where the event has always been held (Cape Town would be the first time Wikimania has been held in the Southern Hemisphere).
  • Bridging the divide between the developed Global North (where Wiki projects most notably Wikipedia are best established and represented) with the less developed Global South (Africa in particular).
  • Bridging the divide between the haves (who have both material wealth and knowledge) with the have nots (who have neither material wealth nor adequate access to knowledge).

Wiki Indaba

Find out more at: http://wikiindaba.net/

Access to mobile devices is on the increase in Africa and is expected to intensify in the next few years, increasing Africa's on-line presence. In order to take advantage of this projected growth, it is therefore important to establish and strengthen Wikipedia and Wikimedia structures in Africa.

The establishment of Wikimedia regional co-operations in regions such as Latin America, India and Asia, has supported the progressive and systematic growth of awareness and coverage of Wikipedia in these regions. This conference is the first step towards the establishment of African co-operative structures and organs made up of Wikimedia Chapters, Wikimedians and mission aligned Thematic Organizations.

The aim of this project is to facilitate co-operation and forge links among African Wikimedia Chapters and Thematic groups through direct meetings and dialogue. This will also assist in increasing Wikipedia coverage and footprint in Africa. This is the first regional conference to be held by and for African chapters in Africa, the region of the world with the lowest Wikipedia coverage.

Best regards and wishes for 2014,

Wikimedia ZA team.