Wikipedia, the world’s largest encyclopaedia, will turn 15 this week.
To commemorate the occasion, South African editors and contributors will meet in Johannesburg and Cape Town to join a global series of events led by the Wikimedia Foundation.
In South Africa, Wikimedia ZA and NETucation, a leading Internet safety training company, have combined their resources to organise an edit-a-thon event in Johannesburg on Saturday (16 January).
“Wikipedia is not only valuable because of the free information it provides, it also allows South Africans to tell their stories to the world,” says Ramon Thomas, founder of NETucation. “The most valuable contributions I’ve made is to expand articles about people and places I know very well across South Africa.”
Thomas has been editing in both English and Afrikaans on Wikipedia since 2006.
Before 2001, an encyclopedia would cost thousands of rands, trees, water and ink, and it was not really portable. Today, Wikipedia provides millions of referenced articles, photos, illustrations, sources, and word definitions at the user’s fingertips.
The volunteers who have been creating this work for 15 years don’t charge anything for it.