ADDIS ABABA (HAN) November 13, 2015. Public Diplomacy & regional Security. Since the 1st of October, photographers and Wikipedians (experienced and new) have been contributing their impressions of the inspirational design from Africa and expressing the influence of culture on day-to-day fashion and decorative and functional accessories and adornment by entering photographs in the Wiki Loves Africa competition.
There are now 2 weeks left until the competition closes for another year. The contest runs from the 1st October to the 30th November 2015 and entries are welcome from anywhere on the continent and beyond.
Mid-way through the contest there was over 3 791 entries from 505 participants in 44 countries. To encourage contribution, eight teams from across Africa have been hosting upload, wikithon and Wiki Takes … (a themed photo tour) events in various capital cities. These events are being hosted by groups of volunteers in Algeria, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Nigeria, Tanzania, Tunisia and Uganda.
Each photographic entry is a contribution to a global understanding of Africa’s cultural diversity by representing its many styles, influences, fashion innovations and the extraordinary capacity for design. The joy of this competition is that the results are not just going to be shared among its enthusiasts or in a gallery somewhere, but with the roughly 18.5 billion monthly readers of Wikipedia and its related projects across the world.
Each image will be considered, and many will be used to illustrate and bring to life relevant articles on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects. In this way the global understanding of the vast continent of Africa and its many stories and intricacies are deepened. It is too early to tell what images from this year’s Wiki Loves Africa are going to be used within Wikipedia. However in 2014, 589 images that related to the theme of Cuisine were used across 56 wikipedia projects with one image being used in 37 different projects alone. The images from the competition inspired 2 wikibooks that form the Mujje Tulye – Come to Eat collection.
The Wiki Loves Africa competition encourages participants to contribute media – photographs, video or audio – that illustrates a theme chosen by Wikipedia volunteers across Africa. The theme changes each year to cover a universal, visually rich and culturally specific topic (for example, markets, rites of passage, festivals, public art, cuisine, natural history, urbanity, daily life, notable persons, etc).
In 2015 Africa’s Wikipedia volunteers chose the theme Cultural Fashion and Adornment. The competition encourages media that represents cultural dress, fashion and a diversity of adornment. Cultural fashion has been defined as clothing and body wear that presents local cultural influences and is determined by cloth, styles, ways of wrapping and hanging, etc. This theme also includes adornment, which is represented by culturally defined jewellery, make-up, hairstyles, tattoos and scarification, cloths and woven materials.
The Wiki Loves Africa team has set up a campaign on the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo to encourage the larger community of Wikipedia editors and readers both in Africa and beyond to get involved by donating what they want towards the competition’s prizes. To ensure quality images we need to attract Africa’s best professional and amateur photographers with quality prizes.
The competition was conceptualised by Florence Devouard and Isla Haddow-Flood as a fun and engaging way to rebalance the amount of visual representations and relevant content that exists about Africa on Wikipedia. The international Wiki Loves Africa competition is organised by the Wikimedia community that created Wikipedia, the free online encyclopaedia, and built the free media archive Wikimedia Commons. Wiki Loves Africa is supported by WikiAfrica at the Africa Centre and is funded by the Wikimedia Foundation and local supporters in individual countries.