Wikimania 2012/Bids/Stellenbosch

A panorama of Stellenbosch, as seen from Papegaaiberg

City details edit

Stellenbosch University viewed from the fourth story of the general engineering building

Stellenbosch is a town in South Africa, situated about 20 minutes away from Cape Town International Airport and is about an hour away from the centre of Cape Town. Cape Town itself is known as the "Fairest Cape" due to its breath-taking scenery and the amazing Table Mountain. Cape Town is a top tourist destination all year round, and this is the doorway to other areas in the Western Cape which consist of some beautiful wine estates, incredible beaches and quaint "dorps" (villages).

Stellenbosch which was founded as a city in 1680 is home to Stellenbosch University as well as the heart of the famous Cape Winelands. As a 'university town' the population of Stellenbosch grows and changes each year. Not counting students, the city has a population of around 120,000 people, with a multi-cultural mix that is complemented by the students that live in the city throughout the year.

Conference venue edit

The South African Wikimania 2012 bid team proposes that the conference is hosted at Stellenbosch University. The University is one of the top four research institutions in South Africa and is a melting pot of different cultures with students coming from across South Africa and internationally. The university has superb, modern facilities, and this, coupled with both the historical feel of the town and the contemporary student 'vibe' makes the university an ideal place to host the Wikimania Conference 2012.

Proposed venue edit

There are a number of options that could be utilised for the conference. One option is to use the university's theatre as the plenary, and the dynamic library space for breakaway sessions. Another option would be to use the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS) which has a conference centre.

  1. HB Thom Theatre is 430-seater which could be used for plenary sessions.
  2. An exciting alternative is also the JS Gericke Library which is partially subterranean - yep, an underground library! - and is a modern, well-appointed building, with 10 seminar rooms attached to it. The library has a new centre called the Research Commons which could possibly be used for more informal sessions. It is dedicated to masters and doctoral students, academics and researchers.
  3. There is also the STIAS conference centre, which is a short walk away from the University, and can seat a maximum of 300 people in plenary, cinema-style format. The conference centre is beautiful and airy, overlooking gardens, with glass-walled breakaway rooms.

Technical facilities edit

  • Audiovisual capabilities on site are excellent.
  • Wireless Network implementation
Campus-wide Wifi is available, will have to be negotiated with University as part of bid process.

Please note: the reality of a developing country is that bandwidth is limited and sometimes the connection is slow. Whilst this can be a challenge, it is also a reminder that this is the lived reality of people living on the African continent.

Accommodation edit

Location of main accommodation facilities edit

Like much of Cape Town, Stellenbosch is geared towards tourists and there is a variety of different types of accommodation on offer, ranging from backpackers (low-range cost) to bed & breakfasts (both upmarket and mid-range) to medium-sized hotels and boutique hotels. Depending on the cost criteria, university residences could be arranged for most participants. These consist of a room but communal bathrooms. Examples of accommodation are as follows:

Catering edit

  • Walk the streets of Stellenbosch and you will find the streets lined with coffee shops, restaurants and bistros. Ranges from 'classic elegance' to 'cheap and cheerful'.
  • South African cuisine is generally standard European-style or American fast-food if you choose to eat at an ordinary coffee shop or family restaurant, eg toasted sandwiches, hamburgers, bagels and croissants. However traditional cuisine has Dutch, Malay and African influences. A favourite meat is boerewors which is sausage that is best braaied (barbequed)
  • There will also be reasonably priced meals available in the student cafetaria on campus.
  • A cappucino will cost around R 17.00/ and a hamburger will cost around R 35.00/

Party opportunities edit

Conference kickoff Party edit

A kickoff party on the first evening at Moyo Restaurant would be a fabulous introduction to South Africa. Serving African cuisine, including local and more exotic dishes from North Africa, a meal begins with traditional handwashing. You will also be asked if you would like your face painted. On a winter evening, guests can sit outdoors around the fire under the African skies, wrapped in blankets provided by the restaurant. Perhaps we could get an 'imbongi' to come and give praise to the conference kickoff. An imbongi is a praise-poet or singer who draws inspiration from the people and situation, and bursts into praise and song in his or her mother-tongue. It is an awesome and inspired (and inspiring) performance which embodies the rich South African oral tradition.

Attendees party(ies) propositions edit

Travel and transportation edit

Estimation of travel costs from all continents edit

From Cost Via Airline
North America
  Los Angeles Washington, Johannesburg South African Airways
  Mexico City Paris, Amsterdam Air France
  New York Johannesburg South African Airways
  San Francisco Washington, Johannesburg South African Airways
  Toronto Zurich, Johannesburg Swiss International Air Lines & South African Airways
  Vancouver Los Angeles, Johannesburg Delta Airlines & South African Airways
  Amsterdam London British Airways & South African Airways
  Frankfurt Dubai Emirates
  London Nonstop South African Airways
  Moscow Moscow Etihad Airways
  Paris London, Johannesburg Air France & South African Airways
  Rome Addis Ababa, Johannesburg Ethiopian Airlines
  Vienna Geneva, Abu Dhab Austrian Airlines & Etihad Airways
  Warsaw London, Johannesburg LOT Polish Airlines & South African Airways
  Bangkok Doha Qatar Airways
  Mumbai Johannesburg South African Airways
  Hong Kong Dubai Emirates Airline
  Seoul Osaka, Dubai Emirates Airline & Japan Airlines
  Singapore Dubai Emirates Airline
  Tel Aviv Amsterdam, Johannesburg KLM & British Airways
  Tokyo Dubai Emirates Airline
  Sydney Johannesburg South African Airways
  Cairo Abu Dhabi Etihad Airways
  Johannesburg Nonstop South African Airways
South America
  Buenos Aires São Paulo, Johannesburg TAM Linhas Aéreas & South African Airways
  São Paulo Johannesburg South African Airways
  Caracas Paris, Amsterdam Air France

Please note that whilst these are the lowest costs from normal scheduled carriers with minimized stops, preferably direct to Cape Town, lower airfares can be negotiated locally via our partner travel agent whom we utilise, namely, STA Travel. You can probably get better pricing from your local low cost airline, to one of the hubs offering cheap direct routes to Cape Town. All quotes were done with TripAdvisor for 11 to 15 July.

Distance from international airport(s)and how do we get to the location edit

Approximately 31 kilometres by road (19 mi) from Cape Town International Airport.

The ZA team proposes that a shuttle company such as Backpacker Bus Tours is used to shuttle participants from the airport (Cape Town International) to Stellenbosch. The rates are, as of March 2011, R 80.00 / per person for five or more in a vehicle.

Local transportation and local social opportunities edit

Merriman ave viewed from the pedestrian bridge.
  • It is safe to walk around Stellenbosch, and metered taxis should cost under per km ( per mile). As mentioned, there are many restaurants in town. A typical restaurant meal might cost between 100 ZAR (almost ) and 500 ZAR (about ) per person, but meals from on-campus kiosk-type restaurants would be much cheaper. You should get healthy food for about 40 ZAR (under ) per person.
  • A visitor to Stellenbosch cannot leave without undertaking a wine-tasting tour. This is a must! Easy Rider Wine Tours offers a full day wine tour of the Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl areas. Tour includes tastings at 4 Farms, cellar tour, cheese tasting, restaurant lunch and registered tour guides knowledge.
  • Cultural experiences can take the form of walking tours around the city which includes historic buildings.
  • Stellenbosch has a number of museums (including the village museum, the Toy & Miniature Museum, the East India Company gunpowder house, and well-preserved stately Cape Dutch houses like the Erfurt House) and art galleries. It has beautiful mountains for hiking, and is within striking distance of Cape Town by train: there's a reliable commuter train service to Cape Town and back for ZAR 26 = (and also, if you want a great experience, there's the line that runs along the beach to en:Simon's Town, the site of en:Boulders Beach penguin colony (a guaranteed hit with Linux enthusiasts). This trip is absolutely beautiful: Image Article), and costs only ZAR 32 = for a 1st class return ticket.

Local currency and local time edit

The local currency is the South African Rand (ZAR) Example of what a rand will give you, as of of March 2011 is: 1 British Pound = R 11.31

= R 6.9

1 Euro = R 9.8 1 Brazilian Reais = R 4.14

Local time is GMT +2. Winter months are June to August. South Africa is chilly to cold in Winter and although it does not snow, warm clothing is advisable as South Africa does not use central heating so evenings can be cold.

Visa issues and Immunisation requirements edit

Visa policy of South Africa provides an overview of visa requirements to South Africa. More information is available from the South African Department of Home Affairs.

It is proposed that the South African Wikimania team will generate invitation letters to those who are coming from countries that require Visas upon entry into South Africa.

Yellow Fever certificates are required for participants coming into South Africa from certain African and South American countries. The onus will be on these participants to ascertain whether or not they need to present these immunisation certificates.

It is not necessary to take malaria medication if coming to major cities and surrounding areas such as Johannesburg, Durban or Cape Town.

Tourism opportunities - bright lights, beautiful city! edit

If participants choose to stay on for a final day or two following the conference, there is a wealth of things to see and do in Cape Town:

  • Of course, once in Cape Town, one can visit the world-renowned Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden or take the cable car to the top of Table Mountain.
  • The area boasts two of South Africa's eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Robben Island which is accessible via an exhilirating ferry (hovercraft) trip and makes for a moving experience to view Nelson Mandela's prison cell. Another heritage site is the Cape Floristic Region.
  • Long Street is in the heart of Cape Town and is a famous, cosmopolitan strip that is the place to party and hang out.
  • Visitors from outside Africa might well choose to make this their main holiday of the year - the en:Kruger National Park is easily accessible for visitors who choose to have a two-stop holiday (en:Cape Town and en:Johannesburg). Other game parks are easily accessible from en:Durban.
  • Package Tours South Africa is a local Stellenbosch based agency specializing in Southern Africa, with many overland trips, safaris and tours to choose from or get help customising your personal tour.
  • If shopping is your thing there is the V&A Waterfront that is a shopper's paradise. There are also boat trips from here and restaurants on the water's edge.
  • Cape Point is over an hour out of Cape Town, and offers spectacular views at the tip of Africa.
  • Camps Bay is for beautiful people. Facing the beach this strip of road is a buzzing, vibey strip of roadside cafes.

Local partnership opportunities edit

Talks are currently underway with the following organisations and institutions:

  • Cerebra: leading digital agency has written a formal letter of support, expressing interest in a South African Wikimania
  • Shuttleworth Foundation, although not positioned to sponsor the conference, support a local bid
  • Old Mutual has expressed interest in the conference
  • Department of Communication has expressed interest in finding out more about the conference should the bid be successful
  • Following a couple of introductory meetings, Stellenbosch University has expressed interest and support

Local team edit

The nascent South African Wikimedia Chapter will drive the bid.

Events experience:The local team includes members who have a strong track-record in coordinating, managing and hosting local and international conferences such as the iCommons annual conference that was held in diverse locations each year between 2006 and 2009, and will thus be able to offer strong support for the local organisation team.

Self-evaluation edit

Vineyards on Meerlust estate, just outside Stellenbosch

Weaknesses edit

  1. Travel to South Africa will be expensive for most Wikipedians.
    This is unavoidable if we don't want to make every Wikimania a US or EU affair. Solution? Not sure.
  2. Carbon emissions from all that air travel: how can it be made green?
    Solutions needed: We'll have to look at some form of carbon offset scheme.

Strengths edit

  1. After three years out of four holding Wikimania in the East Mediterranean/Europe this venue takes Wikimania to a part of the world that Wikimania has not been in before.
  2. Compared to venues in the EU, US and Israel very few Wikimedians will find that their nationality makes it difficult to get a South African visa, and almost no-one will be in a country that considers it illegal to attend a Wikimania in South Africa.
  3. Safety: Stellenbosch is an extremely safe location, with effective local government and policing. The university has good campus security, which is available 24/7 for assistance in any manner.
  4. Experience team: The ZA team has a wealth of experience in managing and coordinating global conferences and local workshops of between 50 and 500 people, including travel and logistics, conference management and programme creation/ facilitation.
  5. Infrastructure: The Western Cape is particularly geared towards international tourists and visitors. The University has excellent networking, transport, accommodation and conferencing facilities.
  6. Natural beauty: The region is famous for its natural attractions.
  7. Excellent University Library: The university library has a collection of well over 1 million books and journals on all subjects, including a priceless Africana studies book collection,.

Images edit