Students at Sinenjongo High School, in Cape Town, have now been thrust into the spotlight thanks to a video on the Wikimedia Foundation’s YouTube Channel. If the school’s name sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the same group of scholars who, in 2012, wrote an open letter to local telecoms operators, encouraging those companies to provide free, unmetered access to Wikipedia.
The video of the children reading their letter is a bold statement – and with the weight of Wikipedia and internet hivemind behind it, the gauntlet has been thrown down in a very public manner. It’ll be difficult for the telecoms operators to ignore this, now.
Since their letter was originally written in 2012, FNB Connect has been the only ISP to zero-rate data to Wikipedia, but access via cell phones is still metered. Phones, of course, are still the primary means of internet access for many South Africans.