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Wikimania 2008, Cape Town[edit]


The vision of the Wikimedia foundation imagines a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. South Africa provides an interesting barometer of progress. There are a large number of English-speaking South Africans contributing to the various Wikimedia projects, including the English Wikipedia, which comes closer than most to fulfilling that vision. They are freely sharing in this knowledge. But at the same time there are many people who don’t speak English, and are denied access to more than a fraction of this body of knowledge. In order for the vision to be fulfilled, the content needs to be available in people’s mother tongue, the language in which they speak and read.

Hosting Wikimania in South Africa will be a tremendous boost on the path of fulfilling that vision. As a country with eleven official languages, international visitors will be able to understand some of the complexities of a society with very different challenges to those found in most highly developed countries.

At the same time, the innovative spirit of locals is likely to result in some dynamic contributions from people who may not have been able to attend an event on another continent. This meeting and sharing of ideas can only be to the benefit of the foundation and its goals. Cape Town is an ideal venue. With a highly developed infrastructure for visitors, improving all the time as the city works towards preparing for a huge influx of visitors for the 2010 World Cup, a cosmopolitan mix of innovative, warm and welcoming people, a hotbed of Free and Open Source software and Open Content, and it’s stunning natural beauty, Wikimania 2008 in Cape Town will be an unforgettable event for all involved.

Introduction and dates[edit]

We are proposing that Wikimania 2008 be held in Cape Town, from 16-20 July. The main event will be from 18-20 July, to be preceded by two hacking days, 16-17 July.

Cape Town is South Africa's second-largest city, one of the world's foremost tourist destinations, and a popular conference destination.

Wikimania has never been held in Africa, nor in the Southern Hemisphere.

Bid Coordinator: Ian Gilfillan

Cape Town on Wikipedia

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South Africa[edit]

Since many Wikimedians will not have visited South Africa before, allow us to spend some time giving you a taste of the country, before getting down to the details of the conference itself.

South Africa has the perfect blend of ingredients to provide the ideal backdrop for any event: rich cultural diversity, an efficient infrastructure, adventure, wildlife and magnificent scenery. Few regions in the world can match the fun, beauty and excitement you’ll find in South Africa. South Africa has already demonstrated an outstanding track record of global significance such as the Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference and the Non-Aligned Movement Summit, International Aids Conference, the World Conference on Racism, and various medical congresses, and has been the host country to the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002.

Exceptional South Africans[edit]

Nelson Mandela[edit]

South Africa's most famous son, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, is also a world icon of statesmanship and national reconciliation. Nelson Mandela is best known for his long struggle against the Apartheid government - a system of white domination and racial segregation. A co-founder of the African National Congress Youth League, he also founded the Defiance Campaign of 1952, based on Ghandi's principles of non-violence. In 1964 he was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Apartheid government and sent to Robben Island. Released in 1990, Nelson Mandela was central to the multi-party negotiations which led to democratic elections in 1994. On May 10 of that year, he was inaugurated as South Africa's first black president. To this day, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate continues to work for the children and the poverty-stricken masses of South Africa.

Thabo Mbeki[edit]

In the post-Mandela era, President Thabo Mbeki has been a champion of the concept of African Renaissance - a far-reaching vision for the continent at large. After the initial process of reconciliation, his government tasked with the job of implementing much needed reforms like poverty alleviation, job creation and nation-building in the new South Africa.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu[edit]

Another Nobel laureate, Desmond Tutu is more recently famous for his chairing of the ground-breaking Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the late 1990s. Known throughout his long career as a vocal, charismatic anti-Apartheid spokesman and former head of the Anglican Church in Southern Africa, Archbishop Tutu is one of South Africa's most-loved citizens.

Mark Shuttleworth[edit]

At age 28, ICT entrepreneur, Mark Shutttleworth became Africa's first astronaut in 2002. Two years later, test pilot Mike Melvill flew the first privately financed space mission.

Mark has since founded Ubuntu, and created the Shuttleworth foundation, which promotes FLOSS & Open content, in it's missions to push Maths & Science in South Africa.

Nadine Gordimer[edit]

Described by her peers as a "colossus of South African literature", Nadine Gordimer was the first South African to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. A prolific writer of novels, short stories, essays and journalistic articles, Gordimer was one of the voices of protest during the Apartheid years - and continues to practise her elegant craft in the modern era.

JM Coetzee[edit]

Winner of the 2003 Nobel Prize for Literature, JM Coetzee is the author of a vital body of South African writing, including such works as 'The Life and Times of Michael K', 'Disgrace', 'Youth', 'Waiting for the Barbarians' and 'Elizabeth Costello'.

Hugh Masekela[edit]

Self-exiled in the 1960s, the wonderful jazz trumpeter Hugh Masekela has returned to South Africa and is still a major player on the local concert circuit. He is also an inspiration to young jazz players and actively promotes their careers.

Ernie Els[edit]

Affectionately nicknamed "The Big Easy" due to his calm demeanour, Ernie Els took the international golfing world by storm when, as a 24 year old, he won the 1994 U.S. Open. He has since evolved into one of the world's top-ranking golfers, boasting a total of 35 international crowns, including two US Open titles and the 2002 British Open.

The South African People[edit]

South Africa is fondly known as the “Rainbow Nation” due to its cultural diversity comprising people of the San (or Bushman), Nguni, Sotho-Tswana, Tsonga, Venda, Indian, Afrikaner, English and mixed origins, as well as immigrant communities from all corners of the world. The South African people have managed a remarkable transition from a racially divided society to one that is founded on democratic principals. The way South Africans have overcome historical racial divides is lauded through-out the world. The people of Souh Africa continue to work together to develop and promote their country which recognizes and celebrates difference in diversity of cultures and religion.

Exceptional Land[edit]

  • South Africa has the oldest meteor scar in the world, just across the Vaal River near Parys, called the Vredefort Dome. The meteor plummeted to Earth nearly two billion years ago (Earth is said to be 4,5 billion years old), predating the heady days of oxygen and multi-celled life.
  • The rocks around Barberton in Mpumalanga are some of the most ancient in the world - over three billion years old. Because they are also the most accessible such formations, NASA scientists come here to gain an idea of how life might form on distant planets.
  • There are only 12 countries in the world that supply tap water that is fit to drink, and South Africa is one of them. Our tap water quality is about third best overall in the world.
  • Where else is an entirely new species being recreated from scratch? The quagga vanished in a frenzy of hunting in the 1800s, but after finding that the DNA is almost identical to the common Burchell's zebra, the species is being brought back from beyond the brink by careful breeding of stripe-challenged zebras.
  • Blyde River Canyon is the third largest canyon in the world - and the largest green one. The Grand Canyon in the US is the biggest, and the Fish River Canyon in neighbouring Namibia the second, but both are dry as bones.
  • South African grasslands have 30 species per square kilometre, greater than the biodiversity of rainforests.

People and Culture[edit]

  • Our country is home to two of the world's most profoundly compassionate philosophies - Ubuntu and Gandhi's notion of "passive resistance" (Satyagraha), which he developed while living in South Africa. Ubuntu stresses the fact that all people are fundamentally connected, that we are human because of each other: "I am because you are".
  • South Africa's traditional healers have been found by pharmaceutical companies to be a fountain of information on medicinal plants.
  • At least half of South Africa's population is now officially urbanized. Interestingly though, a huge trend is developing where young urban families move from big cities to rural towns to live life on a more sustainable scale and get in touch with the Earth, simultaneously revitalizing the countryside.
  • The Cederberg Mountain range in the Western Cape is called the biggest art gallery in the world, thanks to hundreds upon hundreds of ancient San/Bushman paintings. Bushman paintings make up the earliest rock art on the planet - some are tens of thousands of years old.

Tasty Bits[edit]

There are some South African specialities that visitors to our shores won't find anywhere else in the world. Here's a taste of what to expect:

Kingklip - no other country consumes as much kingklip as South Africans do. A sturdy fish with beautiful flakes, it absorbs flavours well and packs a satisfying ocean punch.

Karoo lamb - by all accounts most chefs agree that we have something special in Karoo lamb. The animals feed on fragrant shrubs and wild herbs that lend the meat its unique flavour. Grilled, gourmet-style, barbequed or basted, it's a sure-fire winner.

Biltong and boerewors - these must be our national icons in the food arena. In the early days before refrigeration the Dutch preserved excess meat from the hunt by rubbing it with salt, pepper, coriander, vinegar and saltpeter and hanging it out to dry. Meat treated in this manner lasted indefinitely as long as it was kept dry. Boerewors is a robust farmer's sausage sold in coiled ribbons. The meat is spicy and redolent of coriander and sizzles and splatters companionably when slapped on the coals or dropped into a hot skillet.

Mielies (corn) and pap (maize meal porridge) - Maize has long been the basis of African cuisine. This is roasted on open fires and grinded finely to make the maize meal for their beloved maize porridge. Eaten at breakfast with sour milk and sugar or served with meat drizzled with a tomato and onion gravy, it's a national treasure.

Samoosas - these triangular savoury pastries are the Indian South African answer to the English meat pie (although we have those too). The filling can be made of either chili-laden mince or a spicy vegetable mix.

So what's to drink around South Africa? If you're looking to find something non-alcoholic, here are a few suggestions:

Liquifruit and Ceres: these 100% fruit juices are so highly valued that delis in New York and Paris stock them. No preservatives, no added sugar - just concentrated fruit juice that tastes like the real deal. Try the watermelon flavour - it's a winner.

Rock shandy - this is the sportsman's thirst quencher of choice, but has proved to be equally popular in restaurants. It's a mixture of club soda, carbonated lemonade, a splash of Angostura bitters, loads of ice and a twisted slice of lemon. Bliss…

On the alcoholic front we serve:

Cane spirits - made from distilled sugar cane, where it is mixed into cocktails and combined with tropical fruit juices. South Africa's answer to Vodka…

Brandy - we make some of the best brandy (cousin to the Cognacs of France) in the world - a fact not widely known. Drunk traditionally with Coca-Cola it should actually be enjoyed in a crystal snifter after a good meal with a cigar to match.

Beer - every country has its beers and South Africa is particularly partial to its brew in view of the warm climatic conditions that prevail here.

Wine and sparkling wines - this is where you can expect to be spoilt. South African wines are excellent and very, very affordable when compared to overseas products. Try the robust local reds (very strong though, be careful) like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinotage (a variety unique to this country). For something special at no price at all, order a bottle of local bubbly like Cap Classique or Krone Borealis. Fermented in the bottle in the French tradition, it makes for light, easy drinking with a festive air.

Facts about South Africa[edit]

  • South Africa has three international airports: Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. Other airports include: Port Elizabeth, East London, Bloemfontein, Kimberley, George, Pilanesberg and Lanseria.
  • The South African currency is the Rand, which is made up of 100 cents. Notes issued: R10, R20, R50, R100, R200. Coins issued: 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, R1, R2, and R5. Foreign currency can be exchanged at commercial banks and at various foreign exchange bureaux. Banks are open from 09:00 – 15:30 weekdays and 08:30 – 11:00 on Saturdays. Most banks have Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs), which are open 24 hours a day for statements, cash withdrawals and deposits.
  • South Africa has a modern and sophisticated banking and commercial system and most shops and hotels will accept all major international credit cards.
  • South Africa has adopted a Value Added Tax (VAT) system of 14% on purchases and services. Foreign visitors to South Africa can reclaim their VAT on purchases if they have spent more than R250.
  • Shopping and business hours: Most shops in the city centres and suburbs are open between 09:00 and 18:00 on weekdays and until 14:00 on Saturdays. Generally major shopping malls usually open at 09:00 and close at 18:00.
  • South African Time is set at GMT +2. There are no time zone differences within South Africa and the country has not adopted a daylight time saving system in summer.
  • Cellular phones (mobile phones) can be rented at the airport or at Visitor Information Centres. Blue public phones work with the use of coins, while green public phones work with local Telkom phone cards. International roaming is possible depending on your service provider.
  • Duty-free shops are situated at Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban International Airports.
  • There are 11 official languages in SA. English is the language of administration and is widely spoken. Other languages are: Afrikaans, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa and Zulu.
  • Customs: Personal effects (used) are admitted duty free. The allowance for visitors to South Africa is as follows (free of duty per adult):
    • 1 litre of spirits
    • 2 litres of wine
    • 400 cigarettes
    • 50 cigars
    • 50ml perfume
    • 250ml eau de toilette
    • Gifts and souvenirs to the value of R3 000
  • Permits are required for firearms and are available at the entry points.
  • Health Requirements: No vaccinations are required for cholera or smallpox. If arriving from a yellow fever zone, you must have a valid international yellow fever inoculation certificate. Due to the threat of malaria contamination, preventative medication is necessary for the Northern Province, Mpumalanga and the north of KwaZulu-Natal. It is obtainable from all pharmacies in South Africa. Malaria preventative medication is not necessary for Cape Town and the Western Cape.
  • In most cities / towns / game reserves the tap water is purified and 100% safe to drink.
  • Visas are issued by the South African missions abroad and must be affixed in the applicant’s passport before departing to South Africa. Visas are not issued on arrival at South African ports of entry.

Conference venue[edit]

Wikimania 2008 Cape Town will be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC).

The main nightlife and restaurant zone of the City Bowl is on the other side of the CBD, and it's probably best to drive there or take a taxi.

To the North west, again within walking distance, lies the Waterfront, a popular tourist attraction, with a large shopping center, many restaurants, pubs, and day trip activities (i.e. to Robben Island).

Situated on the outskirts of the Central Business District, the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) is close to the vibrant beat of the city’s heart. At its official opening, President Thabo Mbeki called the development ‘a symbol of hope, a symbol of our glorious past, a symbol of modernity and a symbol of future prosperity’. It is a notion that is as true today as it was then.

Location and setting: a stunning environment[edit]

When you visit Cape Town, bring your camera. Table Mountain presides majestically over the entire city bowl, with landscapes as diverse as beaches and winelands just a short drive away. Many of the city’s landmarks – shops, buildings, cultural attractions – are a few minutes from the Cape Town International Convention Centre. The nearby V&A Waterfront, with its mesmerizing list of restaurants, boutiques, malls, and creative characters, remains the country’s most visited venue. This is indeed a city that embraces its ancient and recent history, fusing it with a sense of cutting edge design, contemporary fashion, and social chic.

The CTICC has added to this vibrant space. Its arrival has resulted in the blossoming of the Foreshore precinct – land reclaimed from the Atlantic Ocean in the 1930s. The Foreshore now forms a lively link between the Central Business District (CBD) and the city’s harbour. Hotel and infrastructure developments abound – and the CBD itself has been infused with a new sense of purpose.

The new centre of Cape Town[edit]

One of the city’s most recent developments is the Roggebaai Canal, which provides a water-taxi route between the CTICC and the V&A Waterfront. With an embarkation point in the main court, Convention Square, the canal offers visitors a unique view of the city. And it’s just one of the ways the Convention Centre’s location makes for an unforgettable stay.

Flexibility: the key to multi-use facilities[edit]

The Cape Town International Convention Centre is designed to meet the varied needs of its delegates and visitors. Its sub-divisible, multi-use convention facilities – and dedicated exhibition area – create an environment that allows for any number of events and functions.

A sublime sense of space[edit]

One of the outstanding features of the CTICC is its imposing, two-storey gallery that extends the full length of the centre. Move from one venue to the next, and you will soon notice that the design lends itself to a smooth flow and circulation of visitors. From major medical and scientific conventions hosting thousands of delegates, to consumer exhibitions and trade shows, as well as intimate meetings and events, the CTICC accommodates them all.

The Auditoria[edit]

The two auditoria, which offer excellent technological infrastructure and superb acoustics, provide tiered seating for large plenary sessions, lectures, product launches award evenings and theatre productions. Situated on opposite ends of the building, both auditoria can be utilized simultaneously while still allowing delegates breathing space. Design details such as writing tablets attached to the seats add a final quality touch. The sweeping space of

Auditorium I seats 1500 guests, and is equipped with a large stage and screen, six interpreting booths, an orchestra pit and a projection room. Linked VIP dressing rooms comfortably accommodate speakers, or the cast of theatre productions. The auditorium’s spacious foyer enables delegates to enjoy refreshments, register, network, or view conference-related exhibits with ease. A designated exterior smoking terrace leads off from the foyer.

Auditorium II seats 620 delegates and is also equipped with a stage, screen, six interpreting booths, and a projection room. This venue is ideally located off the Strelitzia Conservatory and can be accessed from Level 1 of the centre. The Conservatory is the ideal pause point between busy conference schedules – enjoy some refreshments, and relax. From lectures to live jazz, the CTICC’s auditoria remain consummate hosts.

Exhibition Halls[edit]

The Cape Town International Convention Centre provides 10 000m² of dedicated, column-free exhibition and trade show space. The exhibition halls are sub-divisible and can be configured into five separate venues for smaller exhibitions, banquets, special events or conferences. It’s not called the Grand Ballroom for nothing. The magnificent, multi-functional 2000m2 Grand Ballroom is delicately bathed in natural light. It can also be divided according to a 60-40 ratio by means of soundproof partitioning. And, although the aesthetics are designed to take full advantage of the view, motorised vertical blinds do allow for blackout. The venue is serviced from two dedicated kitchens situated on either side of the room. This allows for speed of service when the entire venue is in use. The 60-40 configuration would therefore see each individual room with its own kitchen.

More room to move[edit]

The Roof Terrace Room situated on Level 2 has spectacular views of Table Mountain. Natural light flows into the room from three sides of the venue, and motorised blinds allow for blackout. The Roof Terrace Room includes a dedicated foyer and exterior terrace, making this prime space highly flexible.

There are also four flexible Meeting Rooms, each accommodating up to 330 delegates. The Meeting Rooms are sub-divisible and can be set up for a variety of seating configurations.

The thirteen Meeting Suites are well equipped and vary in size, accommodating up to 25 delegates. Many of these suites are glass fronted, and overlook the bustle of the Exhibition Halls. They double as private viewing boxes or VIP suites, broadcasting or pressrooms. These venues are most-often used as Speakers' Preparation rooms and Organizers’ Offices.

A diverse number of dedicated conservatories and landings complement the meeting requirements of event organisers. The Convention Centre’s two multifunctional restaurants are the Strelitzia and the Jasminum. Both are accessible from several venues and the exhibition halls and are adjacent to the Clivia, Strelitzia and Jasminum conservatories.

More than just a striking façade[edit]

The interior of the Cape Town International Convention Centre reflects the city beyond. Modern, tranquil, and welcoming, this floating space creates an atmosphere of ‘African Zen’. Generous conservatories are flooded with natural light and surrounded by indigenous flora. These relaxing, less formal settings are perfect for viewing of exhibits, cocktails, light lunches, a meal on the run, or just a moment of quiet reflection in the course of a busy conference schedule.

The Registration Foyer is a spacious area dedicated to the efficient registration of large numbers of conference delegates. Ideally located off the Main Foyer on the ground floor, this flexible space can be easily adapted to suit particular needs.

The CTICC’s main foyer leads off Convention Square, a grand piazza that looks out over the Roggebaai Canal and the ArabellaSheraton Grand Hotel. Convention Square links the road network to the centre’s walkways and parking areas as well as the Roggebaai Canal embarkation point.

Future flexibility[edit]

The Cape Town International Convention Centre is already thinking ahead. Later this year the exhibition area will be expanded to include a further 1200m2. Adjacent to Hall 4, this additional space will allow for breakout sessions for large conventions, dinner and lunch parties or exhibitions. Facilities and services will naturally match the exacting standards of the CTICC.

The art of conferencing[edit]

Bold, distinctive artworks that express African and Cape essences ensure that the centre is not only technologically sophisticated but also aesthetically pleasing. The striking 28-metre wide and nearly 8-metre high relief sculpture in the Main Foyer, entitled Baobabs, Stormclouds, Animals and People, is a collaboration between the late San artist Tuoi Stefaans Samcuia and award-winning artist Brett Murray. It reflects the rich diversity of South African culture and brings into focus the qualities that make Cape Town historically and culturally unique.

The second major artwork, Reservoir, is a vast two-piece sculpture by well-known local sculptor Gavin Younge. One portion comprises suspended vessel-like forms, woven from wire and metal strapping. The second piece consists of woven wooden boat hulls situated in the foyer of Auditorium I. Hidden speakers broadcast the life stories of people from Cape Town, South Africa, Africa and elsewhere in the world in a telling reflection of the region’s cultural heritage.

Access for the disabled[edit]

The CTICC has been designed around its visitors, including the disabled. The complex features international standard wheelchair access, designated drop-off points and parking bays, toilets for the physically challenged and elevators with Braille inscription. In fact, in 2004, the centre hosted Access, an International Conference on Partnership in Disability, as well as the sixth General Assembly of the World Blind Union.

Technology: at your fingertips[edit]

The Cape Town International Convention Centre combines aesthetics with supreme functionality. The highly sophisticated IT network with its fibre optic backbone, includes some 1800 CAT5e data points located across the exhibition halls, meeting rooms and public spaces. This infrastructure is used to offer a host of technology services which include secure broadband internet. Every corner of the CTICC is also covered by separate wireless networks.

Remote control touch panels in certain venues allow event organisers to control light levels, blinds, and projection screens. Should a power failure occur, emergency back-up generators guarantee an uninterrupted power supply.

Service and quality: a great Cape tradition[edit]

The staff at the Cape Town International Convention Centre are a committed team, aided by a sophisticated infrastructure, and cutting edge technology. This is enhanced by the excellent reputation of the operating company, the Dutch RAI Group, which has extensive international experience in all facets of the facility’s operation. The CTICC is supported by the qualified expertise of professional, preferred suppliers who complement the core services of the centre. These incorporate a full range of services from audio-visual and IT, to rigging and security.

A choice of restaurants on the menu[edit]

The Cape Town International Convention Centre’s catering division is managed by a team of talented, internationally trained chefs. They will help customise any menu you can imagine – and perhaps some you can’t. Running the length of the centre, the kitchen facilities are the largest and most advanced in the Western Cape. Dedicated lifts from the kitchen to each venue allow for every event to be catered for with efficiency, flair and friendliness.

Delegates and visitors also have the option of visiting the CTICC’s two informal restaurants, the Jasminum and Strelitzia, or the privately-owned Marimba Restaurant, a vibrant eatery offering a combination of African and world cuisine. At the Marimba, guests can tune in to the vibrant beat of live jazz music, or take in the commanding city and mountain views from the outdoor terrace.

Convention convenience[edit]

Visitors to the CTICC will find a host of useful facilities located in the Main Foyer, off Convention Square. These include: the Mahisha Business Centre, which incorporates the Imali Express Bureau de Change, a travel booking desk and a range of business services; the Illy Café, which is perfect for a quick bite and a cup of coffee; and the Afrique Convenience Store, offering duty-free shopping, local and international newspapers and magazines, and a selection of African crafts. An on-site Medi-clinic provides first aid services if required.

Seminar rooms[edit]

There are 13 well-equipped Meeting Suites, which can accommodate up to 25 delegates each. Alternatively, the four meeting rooms (see above) can be subdivided as necessary.

Conservatories and landings[edit]

There are a number of dedicated conservatories and landings to complement the setting. These are flooded with light, and surrounded by indigenous flora. There are two multifunctional restaurants, accessible from several venues and exhibition halls.


For visitors driving in, the CTICC has 1400 parking bays available. A day's parking costs R50*.



Wikimania will be held in July, the low season, when hotels are empty and prices low.

The closest accommodation is the Arabella Sheraton hotel, right next door to the Convention Centre. It's a 5-star hotel, and expensive (off-season rates are about R1000* per person for a shared room), but we hope to get sponsorship to cover most, if not all, of this cost, at least for VIP's, as well as negotiate a group discount.

Alternatives we've considered to house all the delegates include the now mid-range old Cape Sun hotel, a short walk from the Convention Centre, and the University of Cape Town dorms, a 5-minute drive away (outside of peak traffic). UCT rooms cost R180* per person, excluding breakfast (R30*), and have confirmed rates and availability for the conference.

Due to the late launch of our bid, we haven't got as much clarity as we'd like with the accommodation arrangements. We will continue to work on this over the course of the next two weeks.

For those wishing to make their own arrangements, here are some other options:


The sites Hospitality Club (146 people), BeWelcome (3 people) and Couch Surfing (76 people) allow people to find free accommodation. There are active members in Cape Town in all of these sites, and the number of willing hosts is growing...


Amblers Backpackers 3 Upper Union Street, Gardens + 27 (0)21 424-2292 amblers@gmx.net From R70 in the dorm to R240 for a double en suite cottage*
Carnival Court Backpackers 255 Longstreet info@carnivalcourt.co.za From R70 in the dorm to R250* for a double room.
Green Elephant Backpackers 57 Milton road, Observatory +27 (0)21 448-6359 greenele@iafrica.com From R50 for camping to R350* for a double ensuite
Lenox Backpackers 2 Mill Street, Gardens +27 (0)21 465-3118 From R105*
Long Street Backpackers 209 Longstreet +27 (0)21 423-0615 info@longstreetbackpackers.co.za R90 in a dorm to R140 for a private room*.

Mid-to-upper range[edit]

These will probably be out of the price range of most attendees, but for those who want some luxury on their visit, here's a complete list of city centre and nearby hotels.

ArabellaSheraton Grand Foreshore, CBD (in-house hotel – CTICC) 483 rooms 5 star
Cape Grace V&A Waterfront 122 5 star
Table Bay V&A Waterfront 329 5 star
RadissonSAS G/Bay Granger Bay (V&A) 182 5 star
Mount Nelson Tamboerskloof 206 5 star
The Bay Campsbay 72 5 star
Le Vendome Sea Point 143 5 star
12 Apostles Hotel De Oudekraal 70 5 star
Taj Hotel Central City, CBD 180 5 star
Bantry Bay Luxury Suites Bantry Bay 18 5 star
Lagoon Beach Hotel Milnerton 272 5 star
The Commodore V&A Waterfront 236 5 star
Waterfront Village V&A Waterfront 75 5 star
Camps Bay Retreat Camps Bay 15 5 star
The Glen Apartments Camps Bay 30 5 star
Protea Victoria Junction Hotel Green Point 172 4 star
Metropole Hotel Central City, CBD 29 4 star
Portswood Hotel V&A Waterfront 103 4 star
The Vineyard Newlands 173 4 star
La Splendida Botique Hotel City Centre CBD 24 4 star
Protea President Hotel Bantry Bay 349 4 star
RadissonSAS G/Bay Granger Bay (V&A) 181 4 star
Cape Heritage Hotel City Centre 15 4 star
Capetonian Hotel Foreshore, CBD 167 4 star
Cullinan Hotel Foreshore, CBD 410 4 star
Holiday Inn Waterfront Foreshore, CBD 546 4 star
Cape Sun, Southern Sun Central City , CBD 368 4 star
Winchester Mansions Sea Point 53 4 star
Ambassador Hotel & Executive Suites Bantry Bay 97 4 star
Hippo Botique Hotel Central City, CBD 20 4 star
The Cape Milner Central City , CBD 57 4 star
Cape Town Lodge Central City , CBD 114 4 star
Best Western Cape Suites Central City , CBD 123 4 star
The Townhouse Central City, CBD 107 4 star
St. Georges Hotel Central City, CBD 139 4 star
Fountain Hotel Central City, CBD 270 4 star
Victoria & Alfred Hotel V&A Waterfront 94 4 star
Protea Hotel North Wharf 68 4 star
Adderley Hotel Central City, CBD 28 4 star
Camps Bay Resort Camps Bay 70 4 star
Protea Pier Place Hotel Central City, CBD 56 3 star
Breakwater Lodge V&A Waterfront 251 3 star
Protea Sea Point Hotel Sea Point 123 3 star
City Lodge V&A Waterfront 164 3 star
Park Inn Hotel Central City, CBD 165 3 star
Eastern Boulevard, Garden Court Central City CBD 292 3 star
Newlands, Garden Court Newlands 162 3 star
De-Waal, Garden Court Central City, CBD 136 3 star
The Cape Manor Sea Point 108 3 star
Lady Hamilton Central City, CBD 78 3 star
Cape Diamond Hotel Central City, CBD 60 3 star
Hotel Graeme Green Point 32 3 star
Cape Castle Green Point 65 3 star
Tudor Hotel City Centre, CBD 26 3 star
Tulbagh Hotel City Centre, CBD 58 3 star
De Waterkant Village City Centre, CBD 45 3 star
Mouille Point Village Mouille Point 30 3 star
  • 5 star hotels, charge from R1700* per night, breakfast included
  • 4 star hotels, charge from R800-R1600* per night, breakfast included
  • 3 star hotels, charge from R50 to R850* per night (breakfast not always included)

Party opportunities[edit]

As per the last few years at WikiMania, we have planned to hold two parties in Cape Town - one for attendees (about 400 people) and one for sponsors and VIPs (about 40-60 people).

Attendees party[edit]

We have two possible venues for this party:

  • The Cape Town Convention Centre
This venue is where the conference itself will be held, making it familiar and easily accessible for the attendees. The Convention Centre is well equipped to host such an event, having held lots of them, with kitchen and bar facilities, sound equipment, and all the other requirements of a successful party.
  • The Cape Town Castle
Situated within easy walking distance (1.5 km) from the Convention Centre, the Castle of Good Hope is the oldest building in South Africa. A very scenic and historical building, it can easily hold all the attendees, and has often catered to large functions such as this. Photos of the building and its facilities can be seen on its gallery page.

Sponsors and VIPs party[edit]

Cape Town is a major tourist destination and has hundreds of excellent upmarket venues for a small party such as this one. We have selected and investigated two possible venues for the party, which we think would suit the requirements well.

  • Summerville, Camps Bay
Summerville overlooks the beautiful beaches and palm trees of Camps Bay, and boasts a breathtaking view of the sun setting across the ocean from the foot of Table Mountain. It is a very upmarket and smart venue, with excellent cocktails and a fine menu of food. They are very amenable to hosting events such as this one, and have already hosted at least one open-source friendly event: the Cape Town GeekDinner. They have an exclusive cigar lounge with a private bar and sound and music facilities which would fit our bill perfectly. They would not charge anything to host the party, and are very responsive to making deals such as waiving corkage in situations like this.
  • The Cape Town Castle
The Castle has a number of rooms in which it hosts events, and we could just as easily hold our VIP party there as well as the attendees party. Once again, it has the advantage of being situated very close to the Convention Centre, and should we hold the party here, there is the possibility of including such local entertainments as a Cape Malay choir, or a tour of the castle.

Travel and transportation[edit]

Estimation of travel costs from all continents[edit]

From Cost in USD Via Airline
North America
Los Angeles Washington, JHB UA & SA
Mexico City Mex NY, JHB, Sao Paulo AM & SA
New York Johannesburg SA
San Francisco Washington, JHB UA & SA
Toronto C† New York, JHB CA & SA
Vancouver C† New York, JHB AC & SA
Amsterdam € 910 Frankfurt LH & SA
Frankfurt € 790 SA
London Frankfurt LH & SA
Moscow RUB 33,700 Frankfurt LH & SA
Paris € 830 Frankfurt LH & SA
Rome € 840 Frankfurt AZ & SA, LH
Vienna € 870 Frankfurt OS & SA
Warsaw € 1,090 Frankfurt LO & SA

†: Cheaper alternative: via London, using Zoom.

From Cost in USD Via Airline
Bangkok ฿ 52,080 Hong Kong, JHB CX & SA
Delhi ₨ 54,900 Mumbai, JHB IT & SA
Hong Kong HK Johannesburg SA
Seoul ₩ 1.57mil Dubai, JHB EK & SA
Singapore S$ 2,350 Dubai, JHB EK & SA
Tel Aviv ₪ 7,100 Johannesburg LY & SA
Tokyo ¥ 200,000 Hong Kong, JHB NW & SA
Sydney AUD 2,400 Johannesburg QA & SA
Cairo LE 5,250 Johannesburg MS & SA
Johannesburg R 1,500 SA
South America
Buenos Aires ARS 5,830 São Paulo, JHB JJ & SA
São Paulo R$ 2,700 Johannesburg SA
Caracas Bs 4.3mil São Paulo, JHB JJ & SA

These are, were possible, costs from normal scheduled carriers with minimized stops, preferably direct to Cape Town. You can probably get better pricing from your local low cost airline, to one of the hubs offering cheap direct routes to Cape Town. Known cheap routes are via Windhoek, London, Frankfurt, Doha, and Addis Abba. Flights are quoted for 14 - 22nd July.

Access from International Airport[edit]

Cape Town is a short 15 minute drive from Cape Town international airport. It costs around R250 for a metered taxi from the airport to the CBD.

Restaurants and Night Life[edit]

Cape Town city is a centre for local night-life. The Long St. & Kloof Nek road area of Cape Town is alive with restaurants, bars, and people. The CTICC is on the other side of the city from this, but still (just) within walking distance (although that isn't entirely recommended). The waterfront is also a popular hang out area, and within walking distance.

Cape Town is a hotspot for restaurants, featuring cuisine for all tastes, and good locally produced wine. There literally hundreds of restaurants within 20 mins drive of the city.

Local Transportation[edit]

Suburban line train
Mini-bus Taxis
Cape Town minibus taxi rank - for the adventurous
Cape Town train station, walking distance from the CTICC

Sedan taxi[edit]

The most convenient form of public transport for visitors, metered and well-regulated. Usually called in advance, they also gather at common visitor spots. They cost between R7.50 and R10 per km (exchange rates) and costs can be shared.

Car hire[edit]

You can hire a car for around R200 a day. An international driver's licence is required in SA and the licence must include a photograph as well as the signature of the holder. Driving is on the left hand side of the road and speed limits are in kilometres. Cash is required to pay for fuel, as credit cards aren't accepted.


Cape Town station is situated within walking distance of the Convention Centre, and the functional Metro Rail system connects the city centre with the northern suburbs, southern suburbs and Cape Flats. Travel is cheap, but not comfortable by international rail standards.


Busses run routes throughout the peninsula, cheaply, but aren't frequent, or well documented for tourists.


While there is a lot within walking distance, you should be careful about walking around town alone, and shouldn't carry valuables. If you are a group of people you should be fine.

Minibus taxis[edit]

Minibus taxis offer the cheapest transport, and their routes cover the entire peninsula, but they are entirely undocumented for visitors, and are usually overcrowded, badly driven, and often un-roadworthy. Ask a local for help until you're familiar before using.

Visa requirements[edit]

South Africa is one of the most accessible countries for visitors, with very few visitors needing visas for stays of less than 30 days.

Your passport must have at least one blank page, when you arrive otherwise you may be turned away by immigration.

No visa requirements

  • Australia, Great Britain, Ireland
    • HOWEVER: Nationals of the British Dependent Territories are subject to visa control. These Territories are: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn, Henderson, Cucie and Oeno Islands, the Sovereign Base Area of Akrotiri and Dhekelia and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

No visa requirements for up to 90 days

  • Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Portugal, Romania (Only diplomatic & official passport holders for holiday visits), San Marino, Singapore, Spain, St Vincent & the Grenadines, St Helena, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan (Republic of China), United States of America, Uruguay, Venezuela,

No visa requirements for up to 30 days

  • Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Cape Verde, Costa Rica, Cyprus (Diplomatic & official passport holders for holiday visits: 90 days), Egypt (Only diplomatic & official passport holders for holiday visits), Gabon, Guyana, Hong Kong (Only holders of Hong Kong British National Overseas passports, or Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passports), Hungary (Diplomatic & official passport holders for holiday visits: 120 days), Jordan, Lesotho, Macau (Only holders of Macau Special Administrative Region passports), Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Morocco (Only diplomatic & official passport holders for holiday visits), Namibia, Peru, Poland (Diplomatic & official passport holders for holiday visits: 90 days), Seychelles, Slovak Republic, South Korea, Swaziland, Thailand, Tunisia (Only diplomatic & official passport holders for holiday visits), Turkey, Zambia, Zimbabwe (Only government officials, including police on cross-border investigations)


The visa application process takes 10 days, but the South African government will be informed of the conference, and should help expedite the process.

It must be applied for in your country of normal residence or citizenship, or (in the case of unrepresented countries) the nearest neighboring country having a South African diplomatic mission.

Tariff: ZAR 425.00 or or € 43.00

Tourism opportunities[edit]

Cape Town has so much to offer as a tourist destination. It is blessed to have South Africa’s top six tourist attractions within one hour’s drive from the city centre, the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, Table Mountain, Cape Point, the Winelands, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and Robben Island, a short boat trip away.

Table Mountain[edit]

South Africa’s world-renowned icon, the beloved Table Mountain, was given National Park status in May 1998. Table Mountain offers something for everyone – magnificent views, cable car rides, mountain-biking, hiking, serious rock climbing, cross country running, fascinating botany, birding and for the more adventurous, abseiling and paragliding. Visitors are treated to a spectacular view during the ride to the top of Table Mountain aboard a modern cable car with a revolving floor.

Victoria & Alfred Waterfront[edit]

Cape Town’s Victoria and Alfred Waterfront has established itself as a leading world-class waterfront. The unique working harbour with scenic views of Table Mountain combined with entertainment options like shopping, street musicians, museums, an aquarium, boat trips and cinemas promise to make any visit an unforgettable experience. It is within walking distance of the conference venue.

The Waterfront, walking distance from the Convention Centre

Robben Island[edit]

Robben Island is one of South Africa’s four World Heritage sites. This barren windswept island was the prison home of former President Nelson Mandela for many years. Here you can experience the view that kept Nelson Mandela’s dream of freedom for his country alive.

Winelands/Wine Routes[edit]

South Africa and the Western Cape produces some of the world’s best wines. The first wines in South Africa were produced at Steenberg in 1695 and Groot Constantia is the oldest productive wine estate in the country. Check out the Fair Wine List South Africa to find vineyards that produce wine in a people and environmentally friendly manner. http://www.spza.org/en/publications-downloads-spza/doc_download/31-fair-wine-list-south-africa.html

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens[edit]

Kirstenbosch Gardens, 15 minutes drive from the CTICC
Kirstenbosch Gardens, 15 minutes drive from the CTICC

Kirstenbosch is internationally acclaimed as one of the great botanical gardens of the world. Situated on the eastern slopes of Cape Town’s magnificent Table Mountain, the estate covers 528 hectares and includes a cultivated garden and a nature reserve.

Cape Point[edit]

The Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point form part of the Cape Peninsula National Park, and are managed by the South African National Parks. Visitors can enjoy the 7 750 hectares reserve of indigenous flora and fauna and over 150 bird species and can also travel with the only funicular in Africa to the viewing platform 678 metres above the sea.

Other attractions[edit]

Other attractions in Cape Town & Western Cape include:

Camps Bay, 10 minutes drive from the CTICC
Camps Bay, 10 minutes drive from the CTICC
Hout Bay, 15 minutes drive from the CTICC
Hout Bay, 15 minutes drive from the CTICC
Noordhoek Long Beach, 30 minutes drive from the CTICC
Noordhoek Long Beach, 30 minutes drive from the CTICC
  • The Castle Goede Hoop
  • Cape Town Townships
  • Whales
  • Bo Kaap
  • Floral Heritage
  • Beaches
  • Garden Route
  • Cango Caves
  • National Parks
  • National Reserves

Some suggested tours[edit]

Winelands Tour[edit]

The tour includes: scenic and historic drive through and wine tasting at local farms in Paarl, Stellenbosch and Franschoek.

Cape Highlights Tour[edit]

This full day tour includes: Camps Bay, Hout Bay, Chapmans Peak, Cape of Good Hope Reserve, Simonstown, Muizenberg, wine tasting at a local wine estate and the University town of Stellenbosch.

Table Mountain and City Tour[edit]

This half day tour includes: cableway trip to the top of Table Mountain where the varying flora and fauna will be explained; Malay Quarter tour; Castle of Good Hope; Milnerton for a spectacular view of Table Mountain and Cape Town Diamond Works.

Colonial Conflict Chronicles (Natal Battlefields)[edit]

An early start inland towards South Africa’s famous battlegrounds, more battles were fought in this remote area of KwaZulu–Natal than anywhere else in South Africa. The expert battlefield guides will have you hanging on every world as they recount the 1879 battle of Isandlwana where 24 000 Zulu Impis’ took on the fire power of the British troops, and eliminated almost an entire regiment in less than an hour. Highlights of this tour include the relics of Islandlwana, Fugitive’s Drift and Rourke’s Drift, featuring historical conflicts between Zulu Impi and British troops and Relics of Spioenkop showcasing the battle between Boer and British soldiers.

Madiba’s Coast[edit]

Departing from Durban, this tours takes delegates along the spectacular coastal road to Ramsgate, crossing the Mtamvuna River and into the beautiful Transkei. We pass local villages and tea plantations to visit the Magwa Waterfall. Leaving East London the tour will pass Kariega Game Reserve where many indigenous animal species of the area including the Big Five can be viewed. Highlights of this tour include the Pristine Transkei coast, Nelson Mandela Museum and home village of Qunu, Kariega Game Reserve in open safari vehicles, historic Grahamstown and game viewing in Addo Elephant National Park.

Holistic South Africa[edit]

This tour is ideal for those taking time to rejuvenate their mind, body and soul whilst enjoying the scenic and wildlife wonders South Africa has to offer. From Johannesburg International Airport, take a leisurely drive to the Magaliesburg Mountains, to the thatched-roof stone Spa complex which has been built away from the main hotel in the mountain village, to ensure peace and tranquility and offers and exciting range of indulgent face and body treatments, complemented by outdoor heated rock pools set in an indigenous meditation garden. For the more energetic, hot air ballooning safaris can be arranged.

Bush Babies: Game Lodge Fly-in package[edit]

The Kruger National Park is an area known as Paradise Country, it is large and diverse enough to guarantee each visitor his or her personal safari adventure. The main attraction is of course the ‘Big Five’ however, the interesting indigenous fauna and flora, abundance of general game and prolific bird life completes the idea bush sojurn.

Shamwari Game Reserve, Port Elizabeth, 2 days and 1 night[edit]

Steeped in settler history and dating back to a time when a multitude of game roamed freely, the reserve boasts five eco-systems, thus supporting the many forms of plant, animal and bird life. Game viewing is carried out on game drives with a trained ranger who will increase your enjoyment with his knowledge of both the flora and fauna.

The Magical Garden Route[edit]

This tour departs from Port Elizabeth and heads to Cape Town, passing the forests of the Tsitsikamma Mountains and the Bloukrans and Grot River Passes. Highlights of this tour will include the scenic Garden Route featuring attractions such as Bloukrans, Stormsriver, Tsitsikamma Forest, Big Tree and Nature’s Valley, the oyster capital of Knysna (with the opportunity of a lagoon boat cruise), the ostrich capital of Oudtshoorn, including a visit to the Cango Caves, ending the tour in magical Cape Town.

Augrabies & Namibia Wonderscape, Upington to Windhoek, 5 days and 4 nights[edit]

Few sights are as awesome or a sound as deafening as water thundering down the 56 metre Augrabies Waterfall when the Orange River is in full flood. The Khoi (Bushmen) people called it “Aukoerebis” or place of Great Noise, as this powerful flow of water is unleashed from rocky surroundings. Places visited on this tour include the Fish River Canyon, the second largest natural gorge in Africa. Offering fantastic photographic opportunities, the majestic and pristine sand dunes will be visited in the Sossusvlei region before leaving for the bustling city of Windhoek.

Other resources[edit]


The bidding team has contacted many potential sponsors. Some of them have shown great interest in sponsoring Wikimania and covering all the expenses on venue, technical facilities and services, catering, parties, accommodation, medical insurance, and others. If Cape Town is selected as the host city for Wikimania 2008, formal sponsorship arrangements will be finalized. According to our conservative estimation, local sponsorship will be no less than ZAR1,300,000 (+/-+).


Zoopy (a local video and photo-sharing network) have agreed to cover the event at no cost, and to upload videos and photos for viewing as soon as possible.


The Cape IT Initiative is a networking and cluster development agency that brings together people, ideas and capital to grow the Western Cape, South Africa’s ICT sector. CITI’s goal is to promote Cape Town as a global IT hub and gateway into Africa, thus facilitating the creation of jobs and prosperity through IT. Operating on a business-like basis, the organisation is answerable to its paid up members and IT businesses and stakeholders. The organisation is registered in South Africa as a Section 21 company (Association incorporated not for gain, with no shareholders.) CITI will be a key partner in raising sponsorships because they already have many existing relationships with government and industry.

Wikimedia South Africa[edit]

The Wikimedia chapter in South Africa will be founded by the end of this year. The bidding team and Wikimedia South African members will help to organize Wikimania 2008 Cape Town.

Telkom SA Ltd[edit]

Telkom SA Ltd is the largest telecommunications company in South Africa. They are listed on the Joburg Stock Exchange and the NYSE. Currently they are a large sponsor of conferences like Futurex, the largest IT exhibition in Africa. They are good cash sponsors as well as technical infrastructure likely Internet connectivity.

Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT)[edit]

CPUT currently organises the annual World Wide Web Applications Conference, and are perfectly positioned to co-ordinate all input from Academia across South Africa. At the 2007 conference there was a important focus on social media applications like Wiki technologies and an ongoing debate the impact of Wikipedia in teaching situations at the degree level.

Cape Town Wireless (CTWUG)[edit]

The CTWUG community in Cape Town will provide wireless LAN at the conference venue.


SITA, the State IT Agency, is a very large company servicing all government needs. They are implementing a government strategy which favours open source technologies. SITA is a potential cash sponsors as well as opening doors into government for support from the highest office.

Coca-Cola SABCO[edit]

Coca-Cola is a world renowned drinks company. In South Africa they are involved in very sponsorships of Rugby and Soccer. We are in negotiations with their bottling plants in Port Elizabeth to provide a range of energy drinks an soft drinks throughout Wikimania 2008 during the conference and events.

Graduate School of Business (GSB), University of Cape Town (UCT)[edit]

UCT GSB will be responsible for all reception work and will arrange local tours, including a professional and multi-language tour to Robben Island.

Google South Africa[edit]

Google has officially opened its South African office with the appointment of Stafford Masie, ex-country manager for Novell. Masie is widely regarded for his advocacy of open source technologies at Novell. Google is also known as a proponent of open source software.


27dinner is the umbrella name for the monthly "geek dinners" in South Africa. Every month at least two dinners are held around the country in major centres attended by on average 150 people in total. This grass roots support will be vital part of our volunteer strategy.


Tectonic is a #1 open source online magazine in Africa and will be our primary media partner for this event. They will also be included in the organising committee.


We are confident of getting all bandwidth requirements sponsored, and will try and have more detail on this before the final decision is made.

  • more sponsorships are in discussion...

Many software companies are head-quartered in Cape Town. With help from CITI we are able to get sponsorship from these companies.

Local team[edit]

Our experienced team shares a wide variety of skills. An experienced marketer and fundraiser, organisers of the successful 27 Dinner (a bi-monthly event bringing together geeks, marketers, entrepreneurs, writers, media practitioners and speakers) and Geek Dinner, an IT consultant contributing towards translation tools to help kickstart the smaller language Wikipedias, coordinators of a new media programme for the highly-rated UCT Graduate School of Business, people active in iCommons and Free Culture, Free Software development, and of course contributers to the various Wikimedia projects. We all share the Wikimedia vision, and have a passion for bringing Wikimania to Cape Town, and making it a successful event.

Ian Gilfillan

Jonathan Hitchcock

Maximillian Kaizen

Jacques Marneweck

Ramon Thomas

Adeline Biro-Levescot

Neil Blakey-Milner

Joey da Silva

Stefano Rivera

Jonathan Carter

Dave Duarte



Cape Town has a mild, mediterranean climate. Average temperatures in August range from 8°C (min) to 18°C (max), with the highest ever August temperature being 32°C, and lowest 0°C.

Local laws, customs, attitudes, and culture[edit]

Cape Town is a particularly laid-back, diverse and tolerant city, home to people of most faiths, and with a thriving entertainment scene. There are particularly large Christian and Muslim communities. 76.6% of residents are Christian, 9.7% are Muslim, 0.5% are Jewish and 0.2% are Hindu. 13% have no religion, another faith, or undetermined beliefs.

English is almost universally spoken, though not the most widely spoken language at home. 41.4% of Cape Town residents speak Afrikaans at home, 28.7% speak Xhosa, 27.9% speak English, 0.7% speak Sotho, 0.3% speak Zulu, 0.1% speak Tswana and 0.7% of the population speaks something else.

The South African constitution prohibits discrimination on most grounds, including gender, race and sexual orientation.

Cape Town has a strong Free Software and Open Content community. There are two regular events, the Geek Dinner, and the 27 Dinner (in true FOSS style the original was forked), which cater to these communities. Cape Town also has an active Linux User Group (CLUG), South Africans are the second-largest contributers to iCommons, and Cape Town hosted the 1st of Jimmy and Heather's 50 parties. Wikimania will strengthen the ties between these related communities, to the benefit of all.

See Demographics of Cape Town, Demographics of South Africa and LGBT rights in South Africa for more information.


Naspers building, headquarters of South Africa's biggest online media company, a short walk from the CTICC

South Africa has one of the most progressive constitutions in the world, with a vibrant, unrestricted media. The South African media landscape in general is diverse and well positioned to highlight this event to all sectors of the local population, as well as into Africa.

The SABC is the public broadcaster, which broadcasts on 3 local channels and also into Africa, via SABC Africa. eTV is another free-to-air channel, which has competed and won with SABC for major rights to broadcasting international sporting events. Through Multichoice, broadcasting into Africa takes place, as well onto a new mobile television platform.

The print media landscape is also broad from daily publications like Daily Sun, Sowetan, Business Day, to weekly publications like Sunday Times and the Mail & Guardian, who have been online since 1994, and are likely to support this event because of their own investments into social media. Cape Town itself is home to a number of English daily and weekly newspapers.

Radio is very popular in South Africa with 36 commercial radio stations, split between 6 national and 30 regional stations. There are also 90 regional community radio stations. All of these media outlets, including a rich and diverse online media community will be invited to participate and cover the proceedings of Wikimania 2008.

See Media in South Africa for more information.

Exchange rates[edit]

These were somewhat accurate on September 20, 2007.

Currency ZAR per currency unit ZAR 1 =
USD United States Dollar 7.04 0.142
GBP United Kingdom Pound 14.15 0.071
EUR Euro 9.92 0.101
AUD Australian Dollar 6.08 0.165
JPY Japanese Yen 0.0615 16.3
CAD Canadian Dollar 7.03 0.142

Living expenses[edit]

The figures below are taken from January 2007 data and exchange rates (so the exchange rates don't match those above). Rand prices are about the same, for exchange rate fluctuations, see Exchange rates

Coffee R 8.50 € 0.90
Soda R 6.50 € 0.70
Draft beer R 12.00 € 1.28
Bottle of white wine in restaurant R 75.00 € 8.02
Bottle of red wine in restaurant R 95.00 € 10.16
3-course meal R 125.00 € 13.3
Sandwich in restaurant R 22.00 € 2.35
Big Mac Burger R 19.95 € 2.13

Official Support[edit]

The South African government has a policy to promote multilingualism and language rights - many of the smaller South African languages have suffered from official neglect in the past. The Pan South African Language Board has been established to this end. We can expect widespread government support for the conference, at all three government levels (national, provincial and local).

Mayor of Cape Town[edit]

So far, we have got a letter of support from the Mayor of Cape Town, Helen Zille.

Cape Town Convention Bureau[edit]

We also attach a letter of endorsement from the Cape Town Convention Bureau (Cape Town Routes Unlimited), a city of Cape Town organisation who are assisting us with our bid.

Cape Town International Convention Centre[edit]

Finally, a letter of support from the Convention Centre, where the event will be held.



Weaknesses of the proposed location ...and how to overcome those weaknesses:

  1. Relatively remote geographically
    While it is quite expensive to fly to South Africa, the favourable exchange rate allows you to recover this difference (and more) in costs of accommodation, transport, dining, and tourism, especially if you can stay on beyond the event.
  2. Poor Internet connectivity
    The conference centre is well connected by South African standards, and through the use of traffic shaping and caching proxies, everyone should be able to surf, edit Wikipedia articles, e-mail and ssh quite happily.
  3. Poor public transport
    Cheap petrol and car hire mean that Wikimedians can share lifts and taxis, and should be able to get around fine.
    There are shopping centres, tourist attractions, restaurants, and bars nearby the the Conference Centre.
  4. Winter
    It'll be winter in the Southern Hemisphere during the conference. However, given Cape Town's climate, and its location by the sea, that doesn't mean snow or freezing temperatures, it just means some rain, and you will need to bring a jersey. The average maximum daily temparature is 18°C, so it's not that bad - many compare it to a North European summer.
    Also, it'll be off-season, so anything tourist-related should be cheap.
    Mounted security in the city centre
  5. Crime in South Africa
    South Africa as a whole has a high crime rate, including violent crime. However, unlike many international cities, the Cape Town city centre, where the event will be held, is the safest part - as safe as most international cities, and the safest city centre in the country. Most of the crime occurs in areas far from the city centre. The Central Improvement District was established in November 2000, and is responsible for a security force of 129 community patrol officers, 15 private security ground patrols, and eight mounted patrols. There's a 75-camera surveillance network, as well as a municipal police force, in addition to the national police force. Petty crime (i.e. pickpocketing) is much less common in Cape Town, than in most European cities. Thousands of visitors visit Cape Town without incident.
    If you are careful and listen to advice from the local community, you should have a trouble free trip.


  1. One of the world's foremost tourist destinations.
    Everyone wants to go to Cape Town
  2. We are in the Africa and Southern Hemisphere
    Wikimania has never been held in Africa, and never in the Southern hemisphere. With a stated aim of rotating locations and hemispheres, and bringing the Wikimedia vision to new parts of the world, you can't do much better than Cape Town, in this regard.
  3. We have 11 official languages (most unique to South Africa), of which 9 are represented on Wikipedia:
    English: 2 million articles, Afrikaans: 8000, Zulu: 107, Venda: 74, Xhosa: 65, Swati: 56, Tswana: 40, Sesotho: 38, Tsonga: 9
    While our local languages obviously have a long way to go, the Afrikaans Wikipedia is already quite impressive, and you can be sure that there are no *other* encyclopedias in these languages...
    The presence of Wikimania in Cape Town will provide a unique opportunity for native speakers of these languages to attend, bringing a much-needed multi-lingual perspective.
    Jimmy Wales shares an aim of the bid committee to grow the smaller South African language Wikipedias, and has been to South Africa frequently. He'll be back in early 2008 to help local Wikimedians with an event to write masses of content in a short space of time.
  4. Cape Town is relatively inexpensive, especially for European visitors:
    We have a high standard of living, with low living costs. Our exchange rate is also favorable. Off season also means cheap tourism. You pay the local rates, and they are good :-)
  5. Open Source and Open content is prevalent in South Africa
    The poor exchange rate, and high poverty means that South Africans are using Open Content and OSS in many interesting new ways. There are a wide variety of interesting Government & NGO sponsored projects, using OC & OSS.
    Some interesting local examples include:
    • The Freedom Toaster project originated in Cape Town, and we host 3 of them.
    • The tuXlabs: schools with Linux thin-client networks. They don't have Internet access, but they have local Wikipedia mirrors, and when they *do* get access, you can be sure that they will contribute back to Wikipedia.
    • South Africans are the second-largest contributers to iCommons, and a greater overlap between these two projects, between Free Knowledge and Free Culture can only be to the benefit of both.
    • South Africans are open to change, and embrace new technologies. Mobile is much more widely-used than fixed lines, and in some senses the mobile scene here is more advanced than some developed markets. This experience could be shared with the Wikimedia foundation, assisting it to grow in developing areas where fixed-line Internet access is not widespread.