For the first time ever the Annual Wikipedia Conference will be held in sub-Saharan Africa at the Cape Sun Hotel in Cape Town.
The conference (which is affectionately known as Wikimania) will see some 700 Wikimedia volunteers from around the world gathering in Cape Town from 18th to 22nd July.
Wikimania will feature 70 conference sessions with confirmed speakers such as AI expert Joy Buolamwini and data scientist Dr. Martin Dittus. The main theme of the conference will be “Bridging knowledge gaps; the Ubuntu way forward”.
There is another reason Wikimedia wants to come to Southern Africa – the organisation wants to improve its services for the African continent.
With many Wikimedia contributors from – as the organisation puts it – the “Global North” there is a lack of content about Africa. Beyond content, Wikipedia content isn’t localised for Africans. While the service is available in Afrikaans and isiXhosa there is very little in regards to content in indigenous African languages.
“Our vision is a world in which every single person can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. We believe that knowledge belongs to everyone, and that people from diverse backgrounds should be empowered to participate in the collaborative creation of knowledge,” said executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, Katherine Maher.
The conference is being organised by Wikimedia South Africa as well as the Wikimedia Foundation.