Wikimedia chapters/Reports/Wikimedia ZA/2013-2014

Structure, Governance and Management


Wikimedia South Africa is a Wikimedia Chapter for the Republic of South Africa. It is incorporated as a non-profit-making organisation under South African law. It was founded locally on 25 February 2012, after being approved as a Chapter by the Wikimedia Foundation on 26 March 2011.

This Chapter seeks to promote local awareness of the projects and their proper academic use, encourage translation efforts into local languages, and support the creation of local free knowledge and media.

The Wikimedia South Africa Chapter aims to support a vibrant multilingual and multicultural content community that generates and disseminates content that is used, and undertook by the local and global community. In doing so, it facilitates contributions to the commons of African knowledge, promotes free access to knowledge in all South African languages in order to support development, collects and disseminates information about, but not exclusive to South Africa, and contributes to the creation of free and open knowledge in South Africa.

On 1 December 2013, with funding from this grant, our first full time Administrator was appointed. Prior to this, the Chapter consisted of only the Board of Directors who forms part of the team on a volunteer basis. As such, contributions have been subject to time constraints. This has haltered the Chapter from operating to its full capacity.

The appointment of an Administrator has allowed the Chapter to dedicate a full time employee to promote the activities of the Chapter, and encourage general growth and awareness of the Chapter.

Wiki Loves Monuments

Description Link
Project Page Wiki Loves Monuments South Africa
Grant Application Wiki Loves Monuments ZA 2014
Report Page In Progress

Wiki Loves Monuments winners
1st Prize Winner - Leanri van Heerden
3rd Prize Winner - Chris Snelling

Wiki Loves Monuments is officially the largest photographic competition in the world, and invites members of the public to submit photographs of monuments throughout the month of September. All photographs are donated to the Wikimedia Commons (under a Creative Commons Licence) with standard CC BY-SA 3.0 copyright, so everyone in the world can use and enjoy the photographs freely.

During the 2013 WLM competition, 6 432 photographs were submitted by 81 participants. This encouraged commitment from Heritage Western Cape to promote the competition in the Western Cape.

In 2014, Western Cape Heritage sponsored a separate category for submissions from the Western Cape. The first prize is a voucher from ORMS to the value of R 4 000.00, and the second prize a voucher from ORMS to the value of R 2 000.00.

On 8 May 2014, we held our first ever “Best of Wiki Loves Monuments Exhibition” where some of the top winning photographs were on display, promoting the competition and raising funds for the Chapter.

Wiki Loves Monuments South Africa received a lot of publicity from different media sectors and we were also invited to talk about the competition on Expresso, a programme on SABC2.

In 2014, a total of 4 031 photographs were submitted by 94 participants, totalling 15,078.8 megabytes in South Africa alone. Although the number of photographs submitted has decreased, we believe that the quality of the images has greatly improved.

In terms of activity by number of photographs submitted, South Africa was the 14th most active country participating in Wiki Loves Monuments internationally. This is a great improvement from 17th place in 2013.

Internationally, a total of 238,678 photographs were submitted by 7,433 participants, contributing a total of 969,883.9 megabytes.

This year, we also introduced “Wiki-takes (name of town)” as part of the Wiki Loves Monuments competition. Edit-a-Thons were organised at various sites in the Western Cape - the V & A Waterfront, Franschhoek and Simonstown. Interested parties got together and took photographs of buildings in close proximity of the edit-a-thon venues. After the hunt, participants were given an opportunity to upload their photographs, and submit it to the competition.

Participants were also encouraged to take photographs of unlisted locations. Unfortunately some of these photographs were subject to Freedom of Panorama issues which are discussed later in this report.


Description Link
Project Page Joburgpedia
Grant Application Joburgpedia 2014
Report Page In Progress
Launch of Joburgpedia 2014
Satyagraha edit-a-thon
Constitution Hill edit-a-thon

The Joburgpedia project was launched in 2012, and has since seen the installation of 10 plaques at various heritage sites throughout Johannesburg. This project has the support of the City of Johannesburg, the Heritage Portal and the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation

In 2014 the focus on increasing participation intensified, and we spent considerable time promoting the event.

Through lobbying this project, we had the privilege of establishing a partnering with the Constitution Hill Education Project. This project of the Constitution Hill Trust and Constitution Hill offers workshops introducing the Constitution to learners and other interested parties. This particular focus is on the Bill of Rights and the work of the Constitutional Court.

The aim of this partnership is to digitise various documents of the Constitutional Court and we would like to expand this project further in 2015, latching on to the workshops already on offer.

The launch of Joburgpedia 2014, and the first edit-a-thon, was held on 10 May 2014, and was attended by over 20 participants.

Along with various edit-a-thons arranged over a 5 month period, we also launched our first ever Writing Competition. This competition ran for a period of 2 months, and was open to residents of Gauteng, as well as local schools who wished to participate as a team. Despite active advertising to all Senior Secondary Schools in the Gauteng area, unfortunately the competition did not receive much attention, and we plan to relaunch it again in 2015.

This year we also employed our first ever Wikipedian in Residence. Bobby Shabangu started working at the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation on 2 June 2014, and concluded his contract on 30 September 2014. As Community Coordinator, this position provided Wikimedia with the opportunity to digitise important historical documents held within the Foundation.

We are very excited about our partners:

  • Johannesburg Heritage Foundation
  • The Constitution Hill Education Project
  • The City of Joburg
  • The Heritage Portal

We foresee these partnerships strengthening in future, particularly with regards to the different educational programs these institutions are running. These have exposed us to more volunteers who have been introduced to Wikipedia, and whom we believe will continue to contribute to Wikipedia. The Johannesburg Heritage Foundation (JHF) in particular was one of the foremost pillars and a GLAM institution that most of our work was based upon. Their archives include history, maps, plans and publications of most of the buildings in and around Johannesburg. Over the years the JHF have managed to save a number of buildings with historical and heritage importance in Johannesburg from demolition. There are a lot of documents that we were able to digitize and save to Wikimedia Commons (under a Creative Commons Licence) in order to be used in Joburgpedia and other Wikipedia projects. With our continued relationship with the JHF, articles were being created on weekly basis and below are some of the Wikipedia articles created thus far:,_Johannesburg,_Johannesburg

  • We were able to create new articles and significantly increase the number of quality articles about heritage sites in and around Johannesburg on English Wikipedia by over 20 articles.
  • We created new quality articles about heritage sites in and around Johannesburg on small South African languages
  • Encouraged additional local Wikimedians to join the Wikimedia ZA chapter and get involved in this outreach project. At least 5 members are to join.
  • Activated City of Johannesburg and The Johannesburg Heritage Foundation to donate low resolution media files on selected heritage site onto Wikimedia Commons (under a Creative Commons Licence) under free license
  • Digitized Historical archives to illustrate Wikipedia articles. Over 250 historical photos and documents were stored under Category:Joburgpedia
  • Activated Johannesburg heritage enthusiasts to contribute onto Wikipedia projects, especially small languages Wikipedias.
  • 1000 edits of new articles and translation combined across language projects.

Total installations of 11 plaques were envisioned for the Joburgpedia but due to a misprint, only 10 were installed.

We have also seen great interest in launching a similar project in Cape Town. This is currently envisioned as Kaapedia. This is on the cards for next year.

CBS Documentary


In August we received an interview request from CBS News with Jove Oliver from New York. They are compiling a documentary about Wikipedia and the projects in South Africa.

Since there's a lot of Wikipedia content written in English about Europe and America, the Chapter aims to increase coverage of African content and local languages. One of the projects that support this vision is Joburgpedia.

Various sites, part of Joburgpedia, were visited during this interview.

  • The Constitutional Hill – A national heritage site, the highest court in South Africa, and witness to a century of South African history
  • Satyagraha House - Where Mahatma Gandhi lived between 1908 and 1909. An edit-a-thon here consisted of people speaking different African languages - from the Nigerian Igbo Language, to Chishona from Zimbabwe, to South African languages that included Afrikaans, SiSwati, Xitsonga, Zulu and Sotho
  • The Orlando East Library – the first public library in Soweto
  • Meadowlands High School – a school with a rich history in the liberation struggle and the June 16 uprising
  • The Johannesburg Heritage Foundation (JHF) – the digitisation of their archives which include the history, maps, plans and publications of most of the buildings in and around Johannesburg
CBS Filming of Joburgpedia Project - 2014

Wikimania 2015 Bid

Description Link
Project Page Wikimania 2015 Bid - Cape Town
Grant Application Not Applicable
Report Page Not Applicable
Wikimania Bid Logo

In April 2014, after extensive legwork, the Chapter submitted a bid to host Wikimania 2015. Unfortunately our bid was not accepted, but we believe that we have laid the groundwork for hosting this event in future.

The Chapter received good feedback from the bid committee, and we are confident that Wikimania will come to South Africa in the very near future.

Some of the activities conducted in preparation for our bid provided us with important resources for organising future events:

  • Liaison with various stakeholders on issues around venue, accommodation, transport etc.
  • Commitment from various stakeholders to support our bid
  • Thorough analysis on potential sponsors
  • List of potential speakers for event
  • Establishing volunteer basis to host event

GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums)


We have partnered with the Library Association of South Africa (LIASA) to facilitate edit-a-thons on libraries in the Western Cape.

Wikipedia articles on libraries in South Africa either do not exist, or are of very poor quality in relation to their counterparts in the rest of the world. This means that there is a fantastic opportunity to improve articles related to the Western Cape (initially), thereby increasing the public’s knowledge of their local libraries, and at the same time promote the editing of Wikipedia amongst librarians.

These librarians are a group of people who seem very excited about the prospect of editing Wikipedia, and we feel that they can make a huge contribution to improving the content, and quality of a number of articles related to South African and African topics in general.

We believe this is a great first step to building a long relationship with Archives and Libraries in South Africa, who hold a significant volume of content, from which the global public can benefit if they are uploaded and donated to the Wikimedia Commons (under a Creative Commons Licence), following in the footsteps of the United States Library of Congress in America. This is our long term objective in working with Libraries and Archives in South Africa.

Wikipedia Zero

Joe Slovo Park, Milnerton, Cape Town

Wikipedia Zero is an initiative by the Wikimedia Foundation to create partnerships with mobile carriers who provide access to Wikipedia, free of data charges.

Learners from Sinenjongo High School in Joe Slovo Park outside Cape Town, lobbied local mobile operators to make Wikipedia free to facilitate easier access to information.

"Our school does not have a library at all so when we need to do research, we have to walk a long way to the local library. When we get there, we have to wait in a queue to use the one or two computers which have the internet," the letter says.

Most learners from poor communities can often find access to a cellular phone, but not a computer. This makes studying and research for school projects difficult, especially when library services may not be available.

On 14 February 2014, MTN South Africa announced via a YouTube video, that they would provide access to Wikipedia without data charges via the Opera Mini browser. They are the first South African operator to do so, and the first to answer the Sinenjongo High School students’ plea.

We applaud MTN South Africa for taking the first step in support of education. This can have huge positive benefits for South African students, and ultimately for the whole country. This is corporate social responsibility at its best. We hope MTN’s response will inspire other carriers to embrace their leadership potential as critical ICT providers in support of societal development in their own countries.

We support the Foundation’s efforts to expand this across all mobile operators throughout Africa.

Xhosa Wikipedia


Although the project has been well received by Xhosa language academics, our attempts to introduce this into the University Curriculum has been unsuccessful, due to a lack interest in Xhosa language courses by students at the University of Cape Town, where we have been experimenting with this.

However, we are continuing to promote Xhosa language Wikipedia by promoting the activities in schools and among other editors, such as the after school Wikipedia editing programme at Sinenjongo High School in Joe Slovo Park. We applaud, and are greatly encouraged by the efforts and initiative of Sinenjongo High School in promoting and editing Wikipedia.

Wiki Meetups


The Chapter hosts a Wiki Meetup in Cape Town every three months. This has proved to be important to both existing interested members and aspiring members, by introducing them to each other and making it easier for new editors to learn more about editing Wikipedia. This is also an opportunity to provide support.

In addition to this, this meet up assists Wikimedia ZA to connect with its core membership.


Description Link
Project Page Not Applicable
Grant Application Mandela Funeral Coverage 2013
Report Page Report

The passing of former President Nelson Mandela enjoyed huge international media and we felt it important to record the events on Wikipedia for future generations.

With the aim of covering the event for the greater Wiki-community, two correspondents from Wikimedia South Africa covered the memorial event at FNB Stadium, Soweto, and witnessed the ‘Lying in State’ at the Union buildings in Pretoria.

In addition to taking photographs of the event, we also published an article on Wikinews and contributed to content of the Wikipedia page on the Death and state Funeral of Nelson Mandela.

We also contributed two video reports :

Interview with Jackson Mthembu

Clement Khanye reporting from the Union Buildings

Open Book Festival – South African Authors on Wikipedia

Description Link
Project Page Open Book Festival
Grant Application Not Applicable
Report Page Not Applicable
The Open Book edit-a-thon

South African literature is under-represented on Wikipedia and we have identified, in cooperation with the Book Lounge, a number of articles and areas of expansion on Wikipedia to improve the quality and content on articles related to South African literature.

The aim is to improve the public’s knowledge of content related to South African literature, whilst at the same time, promoting editing Wikipedia as a public activity.

We arranged several Edit-a-Thons from July to September to run with the annual Open Book Festival in Cape Town.

A series of events provided an opportunity for the creation of Wikipedia pages for as many South African authors as possible, and to create and improve articles on South African literature.

We have compiled the following :

Articles to Focus on


Articles to Edit

Wiki Indaba

Description Link
Project Page Wiki Indaba
Grant Application Wiki Indaba 2014
Report Page Report

Indaba 2014

The first ever African Wiki Indaba was held at the Premier Hotel, OR Tambo over a period of 3 days from 19 – 22 June 2014. The aim of the conference was to facilitate co-operation between African communities, and was attended by English, French and Arabic Wikipedians from various African countries. The conference was the first step in establishing the movement in Africa.

This conference was not only attended by staff of the Wikimedia Foundation, but represented the following countries:

  • Botswana
  • Cameroon
  • Ivory Coast
  • Egypt
  • Ethiopia
  • France
  • Ghana
  • Iran
  • Kenya
  • Malawi
  • Namibia
  • Nigeria
  • South Africa
  • Tanzania
  • Tunisia
  • Uganda

A total of 40 participants from across the African continent attended the event. This included members from two acknowledged user groups.

We view this conference as the biggest event organised by Wikimedia ZA to date, and most certainly the first of its kind in Africa. Some of the aspects involved in the logistics of such a conference, provided us with invaluable experiences for future events.

  • Processing Scholarships for 35 participants – international and local
  • Travel Arrangements for Scholarship participants – international and local
  • Visa requirements for Scholarship recipients
  • Venue Hire, Catering and Accommodation

Activities during the Conference can be viewed here.

We would like to thank the Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia UK for their generous support of this conference.

Chapter’s Conference


Douglas Scott and Theresa Hume were awarded scholarships to represent Wikimedia South Africa at the Chapter’s Conference, held in Berlin in April 2014. This conference provides opportunities to connect with the broader Wikipedia community, and to discuss important issues surrounding the movement.

Wiki Loves Africa


Wiki Loves Africa is a new annual competition that invites people from across Africa (and beyond) to celebrate the diversity, richness and complexity of the continent we live on. It is a collaborative project run by the Africa Centre.

In 2014, the Wiki Loves Africa competition celebrates the theme “Cuisine”. Participants can enter the competition by taking photographs, video or audio that are related to traditional or contemporary local cuisine, and entering that media into the competition. The competition will accept any media that is related to the production and consumption of food from across the continent, including the "foods", "dishes", "crops", "husbandry", "culinary art", "cooking methods", "utensils", "food markets", "festivals", "culinary events", "famine food" and any other issues that are related to cuisine on the African continent.

Media entered for the competition may be used to illustrate Wikipedia articles relating to the subject, and will become part of the largest free images database in the world, Wikimedia Commons (under a Creative Commons Licence). The competition starts on 1 October and ends on 30 November 2014.

Wikimania 2014

Dumi at Wikimania

Wikimania 2014 took place in London from 6 - 10 August 2014. This conference, festival, meetup, workshop, hackathon and celebration, is the official annual event of the Wikimedia movement where the wiki community comes together to discuss various projects.

The main event itself was held in and around The Barbican Centre in London, UK.

The opening session of Wikimania London 2014 included speeches from the new CEO of the Foundation, Lila Tretikov and Jimmy Wales.

We would like to extend a big thank you to Wikimedia UK for the superb conference.

At Wikimania a number of issues and projects of interest were discussed. Organisational and coordination work was done in preparation for Wiki Loves Monuments international; discussions with Wikimedia CH for rolling out Kiwix in South Africa; and an African Meet-up to discuss African issues were all held. We also touched base with other chapters from around the world and got up-to-date with the latest issues and trends affecting the movement as a whole.

Wikimedia ZA also setup a booth at the Community Village at Wikimania to help represent the South African community to the world. South African snacks were available as treats for visitors and information relating to projects run by Wikimedia ZA was on hand.

A big thank you goes out to Helen Riding for writing up the Wikiproject South Africa leaflet.

Administrative Structure


One of the needs of the Chapter was to do some general housekeeping in order to fully adhere to various legislative and administrative requirements. With no full time administrative support, this was not previously possible.

The first step was to align the Chapter with all the legislative requirements of SARS and Government. During the last year, the Chapter has made a huge advancement in the following areas:

  • PAYE Registration
  • SARS Tax Registration
  • Bi-monthly bookkeeping services
  • Change of Director documents
  • Appointment of Auditors
  • NPO Registration (pending)
  • VAT Registration (pending)
  • Monthly Payroll Services
  • Annual Audits
  • Update Company Documents with Company Registrar

Along with these, we have also established various internal administrative procedures. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Renting an official post box
  • Business Cards
  • Setting up accounts to facilitate payments from the Wikimedia Foundations and other funders
  • Setting up a Petty Cash System
  • Company Filing System
  • Administrative Assistance with Grant Applications
  • Administrative Assistance with Grant Reports
  • Membership Management
  • Website and Social Media

New Projects for 2015


In addition to continuing with some of the projects mentioned above, we have the following projects tabled for the coming year.


The Chapter has applied for funding from the Wikimedia Foundation to install localised Wi-Fi offline Wikipedia systems, otherwise known as Kiwix, developed by Wikimedia Switzerland. The aim is to introduce these systems to schools, and possibly other locations, to improve free access to Wikipedia to promote education and access to knowledge. The pilot site for this project will be Sinenjongo High School in Joe Slovo Park.

Lobbying: Open Access and Freedom of Panorama

Open Access - The Provincial Government of the Western Cape has expressed an interest in learning more about the benefits of open data, and public access to government data. We have had a meeting with a senior member of the legislature involved in policy formulation and implementation, to discuss the way forward. The goal is to articulate and promote a case for open access to government data.

Freedom of Panorama - In the future we will also be focusing more on lobbying in support of getting the Copyright Act of 1978 amended, so as to allow for Freedom of Panorama. Currently, it is not possible to take picture of recently built ‘public art’ such as monuments, statues and stadiums and submit them to Wikimedia Commons (under a Creative Commons Licence) in South Africa. This has also prevented us from accepting pictures of recently built monuments, such as monuments commemorating the struggle against Apartheid to Wiki Loves Monuments. This is due to the very vague way in which the Act was written when coving these issues. We are working with Creative Commons South Africa to promote and encourage government to amend the Act, so members of the public can freely take photographs of these places to share these wonderful places with everyone in the world.


Building on the success of the Joburgpedia project, this project is aimed at increasing Wikipedia coverage of iconic buildings, but this time around Cape Town City Centre, with historic and heritage importance.

We will consider this project a success if we can:

  • Increase the number of quality articles about heritage sites in Cape Town on English Wikipedia
  • Create new quality articles about heritage sites in Cape Town
  • Encourage participation of Heritage Western Cape
  • Promote participation in Wiki Loves Monuments
  • Possible inclusion of UCT heritage Sites
  • Encourage additional local Wikimedians to join the Wikimedia ZA Chapter, and get involved in this outreach project.

This pilot project aims to install QR codes next to existing heritage Western Cape plaques at 20 selected sites throughout the City. The sites will be decided on in consultation with Heritage Western Cape, making use of the current list of heritage sites in the Western Cape.

Wiki Loves Wildlife

The aim of this project, based on the Wiki Loves Monuments model, is to encourage and facilitate the capturing and upload of African Wildlife photographs under free licensing. This is our first effort to introduce this competition to South Africa.

We believe that the introduction of a Wildlife specific competition will prove very successful, as South Africa has a large variety of wildlife. The country has 299 species of mammals, and 858 species of birds.

We will consider this project a success if we can:

  • Introduce this competition to South African with a minimum expected submission of 100 entries for the first year
  • Increase the diversity of Wildlife photographs on Wikimedia Commons (under a Creative Commons Licence)
  • Encourage the same level of participation and enthusiasm as we enjoy with the Wiki Loves Monuments Competition
  • Expand on the existing number of 132 photographs on Wikimedia Commons (under a Creative Commons Licence) under the category 'South African Wildlife'

It is envisaged that this competition will run for a period of 3 months, and will be held at National Level. Participants will be requested to upload and categorise photographs of South African wildlife in their natural habitat under the category 'South African Wildlife'.

Projects Repeating in 2015

  • Joburgpedia
  • Wiki Loves Monuments
  • GLAM
  • Wikipedia Zero
  • Wiki Meet ups
  • Wikinews