American Internet entrepreneur Jimmy Wales the founder of Wikipedia. Jimmy is in Cape Town for the Wikipedia annual conference "Wikimania" held at the Cape Sun Hotel. Picture:Brendan Magaar/African News Agency (ANA)
American Internet entrepreneur Jimmy Wales the founder of Wikipedia. Jimmy is in Cape Town for the Wikipedia annual conference "Wikimania" held at the Cape Sun Hotel. Picture:Brendan Magaar/African News Agency (ANA)

#Wikimania highlights the need for African content

By LUKE FOLB Time of article published Jul 21, 2018

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Wikimania hit Cape Town yesterday as the first ever conference held in sub-Saharan Africa brought together more than 700 people to discuss how to improve the diversity of knowledge represented on Wikipedia.

Speaking on the second morning of the Wikimania conference founder Jimmy Wales said that he was excited about Africa and that the conference brought together cultures from all over the world staying true to the ethos of Wikipedia.

“It’s really important because Africa has lagged behind but we’re seeing real strides now and it’s exciting because we’re moving forward. It’s a challenge to also get females on because that’s a challenge globally,” he said.

Today’s events included panel discussions around research, language, education, outreach, communities, advocacy and technology.

Key discussions on how to get more indigenous languages represented on Wikipedia, expanding the African diaspora and bridging the gaps between communities.

On Friday the event kicked off with an opening ceremony featuring a special presentation by a group of local Sinenjongo high school students welcoming conference attendees

Executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation Katherine Maher described Wikipedia as “fascinating and expansive” but cautioned that it did not represent the entirety of the world we live in.

“We are honoured to be hosted by Cape Town for this year’s Wikimania, the first ever in sub-Saharan Africa, and look forward to speaking with our global communities, South Africans, and more about how we can begin to hear the critical perspectives that are missing from Wikipedia today,” said Maher.

Wikimania continues tomorrow with discussions focused on closing the gender gap, women leading the way to gender equality and what can be learned from the feminist movement for knowledge equity.

Weekend Argus

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