First Gathering of Wikipedians in Jo’burg

Sandister Tei–Plan WikiGH Executive

Executives of Planning Wikimedia Ghana have endorsed the formation of Wiki Indaba, a proposed project to organize a three day gathering of African wikimedians in South Africa from February 21-23, 2014. The objective of this gathering will be finding ways to increasing free knowledge about Africa on wikipedia and facilitate co-operation amongst African wikimedia chapters.

Pioneering members of the forming Wikimedia Ghana in the persons of Sandister Tei and Rexford Nkansah in 2012 sent a representative to Washington DC to confer with organizers of that year’s Wikimania–an annual international conference for users of the Wikimedia Foundation projects–about ways to increase African content on wikipedia. Around that same time, wikipedians and wikimedians across Africa started talking about the need for an All Africa conference to achieve this same objective.

In early 2013, Wikimedia South Africa decided to take the plunge and begin preparations for the proposed conference which Isla Haddow-Flood; Project Manager at WikiAfrica says will be the first of its kind in Africa. At the recent Wikimania 2013 in Hong Kong there was an informal Africa meet-up attended by delegates from at least 5 countries. Sandister Tei of Ghana was one such attendees and the first female Ghanaian representative ever at a Wikimania conference.

Isla Haddow-Flood of WikiAfrica

An interview with Sandister Tei who is back in Ghana showed it is clear that Africa is abuzz and ready to take advantage of the increased access to mobile devices to raise online presence of the continent via Wikimedia sister projects. Miss Tei believes now is the time for Africa to rise to the occasion and tell her own story by increasing Her number of editors and quality of contents–‘this is why Planning Wikimedia Ghana fully supports the organization of Wiki Indaba in South Africa.’

A founding member of Planning Wikimedia Ghana; Rexford Nkansah applauded the South African effort and called for more support for Wikimedia chapters in Africa. He particularly applauded MiPromo Ghana for all the assistance they continue to give the Ghanaian wikimedia efforts and hoped that others will emulate their example in this all important quest for Africa.

Oarabile Mundongo of Botswana who is also a wikipedian praised this project in an email. Like Ghana, Botswana is looking forward to gaining full recognition as a chapter of the foundation and joining the ranks of Kenya and South Africa who are currently the only countries from Africa recognized as chapters of the global body.

‘Extensive consultation with the wider wikimedia and editor communities across Africa should be conducted in the form of working groups to isolate exactly what the expectations of and goals for the conference are’ says Isla Haddow-Flood who encouraged wikipedians interested in Africa to continue discussions about this conference by searching for Wiki Indaba on Google.

This initiative will be looking forward to presenting the continent as a unified front as it begins a very lively conversation about charting an African movement amongst wikimedians.


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