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Wikipedia founder to launch SA academies

By   |  October 25, 2007

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales will be in South Africa next month to promote his goal of having Wikipedias in all major languages around the world.

A partnership between iCommons and the Wikimedia Foundation will see the launch of two Wikipedia Academies in the country. Attendees to these launches will learn how to edit Wikipedia through various workshops.

In addition to Wales’ motivational talks, attendees will also hear Ndesanjo Macha, considered the father of the Swahili Wikipedia, share his experience on how to sustain local language Wikipedias.

Driven by Wales’ goal of “creating and distributing a free encyclopaedia of the highest possible quality to every single person on the plant in their own language”, the Academy aims to bring together academics, students, public intellectuals, linguists, scientists, archivists, writers and anyone with an interest in using and contributing to Wikipedia.

The first Wikipedia Academy launch will take place on November 10 at CIDA City Campus, the first free university in South Africa. The partnership between Wikipedia and CIDA is appropriate as both are founded on the concepts of community contribution.

As we all know, Wikipedia is built by a vast group of global contributors who share their knowledge. Less well known is the fact that CIDA is maintained by students who help run the university, teach young people during their holidays and help pay the university costs of other students when they graduate.

On November 11 a workshop aimed at growing the Afrikaans version of the online encyclopedia will be held in Rosebank. Bringing together the main movers in the Afrikaans Wikipedia community, as well as those from the Afrikaans language media and other interested parties, the strategic planning workshop will map out the next steps for the Academies.

In addition to these launches, Wales will talk on November 13 from 4 to 7pm at the Grace Hotel as part of the Innovation Series, a series of events with influential speakers who have had significant influence on the Internet. Here Wales will also speak about his latest venture, Wikia, which aims use the Wikipedia principles to create potentially profitable business models.

To register for this event, go here. For more information, call 011 327 3155 or email

Venues and events:

Wikipedia Academy launches:
Saturday November 10, 9am to 1pm: CIDA City Campus, 54 Commissioner Street, Johannesburg
Sunday November 11, 10am to 12.30pm: iCommons Offices at the Grace Hotel, 54 Bath Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg

Innovation Series:
Tuesday November 13, 4pm to 7pm: The Grace Hotel, 54 Bath Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg


One Response to “Wikipedia founder to launch SA academies”

  1. david hill
    November 24th, 2007 @ 9:29 pm

    WIKIPEDIA and all its constituent satellites should be totally banned from major research institutions throughout the world for it provides the means for distortions and untruths to be put in print across the whole globe. This cannot be good for humankind as if people start to believe every word that appears in Wikipedia, they will get things wrong, very wrong indeed. It is as simple as that, but the consequences could be huge for economies and people.
    If you wish to read more I suggest that you get a full insight into Wikipedia and visit
    and go to the bottom of the page.

    Wikipedia is run in reality by a bunch of overgrown kids who do not care about those who really count, the people themselves.

    Dr. David Hill
    World Innovation Foundation
    Bern, Switzerland

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