WikiWomenCamp/FAQ/Perspectives/South Africa

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Flag of South Africa.svg South Africa[edit]

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If you are a female contributor living in this country, your perspective is wanted
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South Africa has eleven official languages, they are Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Sotho, Swazi, Tswana, Tsonga, Venda, Xhosa and Zulu. While all the languages are formally equal, some languages are spoken more than others. According to the 2001 National Census, the three most spoken first home languages are Zulu (23.8%), Xhosa (17.6%), and Afrikaans (13.3%). Despite the fact that English is recognised as the language of commerce and science, it was spoken by only 8.2% of South Africans at home in 2001, an even lower percentage than in 1996 (8.6%).

Wikimedia South Africa is the country's national chapter.[1]. Several women are on the chapter's board. Currently the chapter is planning a regional conference in the near future.

  • In January 2012 Afrikaans language Wikipedia rank 57 out of 280 languages Wikipedia, with 3,2 million page view per month. It has 20 active wikipedians (five edits per month) while there are 7 very active wikipedians (more than 100 edits per month) in December 2011.[2]

In December 2011, there were 2,180 women of all ages from South Africa who were interested in Wikipedia.[3] In December 2011, according to Alexa, Wikipedia was ranked the 9th most popular site in the country.[4]

South African women perspective to free knowledge
  • The number of women in the Science, Engineering and Technology sector remains significantly low though there is a steady increase in the number of graduating female students and more women than men graduate.
Women in South Africa
  • The legacy of the matriarchy in South Africa is a formidable, dynamic act of strength and courage in pioneering, transforming and affirming women’s rights and freedoms. One of the defining moments in the history of this legacy is the 1956, 20 000 strong Women’s March to the Union Buildings, rejecting Pass-Laws, delivering a memorandum to then Prime Minister, Mr. J.G Strydom. The women sang the freedom song, ‘Wathint’ abafazi Strijdom, wathint’ imbokodo, uza kufa”, translated, “you strike the women Strijdom you strike a rock, you will be crushed, you will die”

South Africa as a signatory to several International Conventions pertinent to the Protection of Women and Gender Equity has developed and enacted several pieces of legislation to motivate for a further commitment to address the past and present challenges of patriarchal attitudes and the traditional practices therein, that threaten the well being and development of women and the girl child. It is said, “That the longevity of any society is in direct relation to the level of how women are enabled to contribute to the growth and sustainability of that society”. A Ministry of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities was created to reframe Gender Policy and establish a National agenda to substantially improve the quality of living for women and the girl child. Bridging the Gender Gap requires far more support than Acts of Parliament to enable women to fully participate in the mainstream economy. Achieving this is challenged by; 1. Entrenched patriarchal attitudes; 2. Inadequate awareness and religious/cultural perceptions of the rights of women, children and persons with disabilities, including the rights and respect for Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transexuals with the increase of incidences of "Corrective Rape" as a direct result. 3. High dropout rate of girl children, predominantly due to pregnancy and literacy among women. Inadequate skills development and transference programs that addresses the skills shortages Generally, all racial and ethnic groups in South Africa have long-standing beliefs concerning gender roles, and most are based on the premise that women are less important, or less deserving of power, than men. Most African traditional social organizations are male centered and male dominated. Even in the 1990s, in some rural areas of South Africa, for example, wives walk a few paces behind their husbands in keeping with traditional practices. Afrikaner religious beliefs, too, include a strong emphasis on the theoretically biblically based notion that women's contributions to society should normally be approved by, or be on behalf of, men. Anglo-Africans tend to be the most liberal group, including on issues pertaining to gender roles. 20th century economic and political developments presented South African women with both new obstacles and new opportunities to wield influence. For example, labor force requirements in cities and mining areas have often drawn men away from their homes for months at a time, and, as a result, women have borne many traditionally male responsibilities in the village and home. Women have had to guarantee the day-to-day survival of their families and to carry out financial and legal transactions that otherwise would have been reserved for men.

The Foundation

In August 2010, The Foundation initiate Wikimedia South Africa, kickoff Workshop. In 2007, iCommons and the Wikimedia Foundation organised a Wikipedia Academy in Johannesburg, while a group of Wikimedians started to put together a bid for Wikimania. Achal, with the help of Kerryn McKay and Daniela Faris of the African Commons Project [1], advertised the idea of a workshop to kick off a South African chapter, and invited various wikipedians and otherwise interested people (FOSS activists, users of Wikipedia, non-profit experienced people) to participate in a workshop destined to kick off a South African chapter. This initiative was combined with an Innovation Series function where Jimmy Wales was invited to speak to corporates and SMEs at a function.

During the December 2011 fundraising appeal, no South Africans, men or women,were featured are part of the appeal. During the 2011 Summer of Research, the WMF hired eight research fellows. Of these, only one was female, and she was from the United States. There were four males from American universities, The other researchers included men from a Japanese university, a Swiss university and a Canadian university. There were no research fellows, male or female, from this country.