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Wikimedia Foundation elections/2024/Candidates/Bobby Shabangu

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Bobby Shabangu (Bobbyshabangu)


Bobbyshabangu (talk meta edits global user summary CA  AE)

Candidate details
Picture of my headshot
  • Personal:
    • Name: Bobby Shabangu
    • Location: South Africa
    • Languages: English, SiSwati, isiZulu, isiXhosa, SeTswana
  • Editorial:
    • Wikimedian since: 2013
    • Active wikis: Wikipedia in the languages en, ss, zu, xh, st, Wikimedia Commons, Meta, Wikidata, Incubator.
Total word count for the whole application (required + optional questions) is 1000 (one thousand) words
Required questions
Why are you running for the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees? What would you contribute? What would you like to learn more about? I am running for the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees to bring a unique perspective and advocate for greater representation and inclusivity within the global Wikimedia community. I also believe that my experience from South Africa ( with diverse languages, economic make up and a constitution that is focused on human rights) enables me to understand the unique challenges and opportunities faced by contributors from underrepresented regions as well as those from the global north regions. I aim to contribute my expertise in community building, capacity development, and strategic planning to advance the Movement Strategy 2030 goals. Additionally, I am eager to learn more about effective governance practices and global collaboration strategies to better support and empower Wikimedians worldwide.
Please describe your Wikimedia experience (such as contributions to the Wikimedia projects, memberships in Wikimedia organizations or affiliates, activities as a Wikimedia movement organizer, or participation with a Wikimedia movement ally organization). I contribute on different South African languages and projects including en, ss, zu, xh, st, Wikimedia Commons, Meta, Wikidata and as act as an admin for IsiNdebele on Incubator.

I enjoy listening and talking to people, and I enjoy learning or teaching a new skill, and this is demonstrated by my community outreach activities which far exceed my actual edits. I am currently leading the SWiP project, where we visit various universities across the country to teach Wikipedia to scholars and students. The project dashboard can be seen here. Over the years, I have conducted numerous roadshows with different mission-aligned institutions to raise awareness about the lack of African content on Wikipedia, activate new users, and increase African content and South African languages. Please see my contributions in the Wikimedia ZA Chapter activity reports here.

As a leader, I have served on the board of Wikimedia ZA. I also chair the WikiIndaba Steering Committee (WISCom), which organises the WikiIndaba conferences and has played a pivotal role in addressing unique challenges faced by African Wikimedians and providing solutions. Additionally, I co-founded Afrika Baraza, a platform for Africans to connect, collaborate, and share skills across the continent, and I've also actively participated in the development and implementation of the movement strategy 2030 especially in the African continent through facilitating the Movement Strategy Salons.

From your perspective, what should the Wikimedia Foundation be prioritizing over the next 5-10 years, and why do you see these as the most important priorities? I believe the Wikimedia movement operates in a rapidly changing environment. When we began with the Movement Strategy 2030, AI was not a consideration. MOreover, the outlook of the community, especially in the global South, has evolved significantly. We've seen exponential growth of new contributors in Africa during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, from the 10 Recommendations of the 2030 Movement Strategy I think in the next 5-10 years we should prioritise:
Optional questions - Professional Experience, Skills and Education
Please describe your experience with governing bodies of organizations (nonprofit or for-profit), mentioning the scope of your responsibilities, as well as the complexity of the organization (in terms of scale of operations, budget, number of people involved, or other meaningful measures) and the size of the board or body. Wikimedia South Africa: : I served on the board of Wikimedia ZA first as a board member and now as the president, where I help drive initiatives to support and grow the local editing community. Additionally. I've learned over the years that an effective leader gets things done, for the first time since I've taken reigns as the president of Wikimedia ZA, we have been able to generate income and resources outside of Wikimedia Foundation grants from our fiscal sponsorship activities, membership subscriptions/donations and partners which has given us the freedom to sponsor some of our community members on different activities, as well as think about investments.

The African Continent: I also chair the WikiIndaba Steering Committee (WISCom), which is responsible for organising the WikiIndaba conferences and has played a pivotal role in addressing unique challenges faced by African Wikimedians. Additionally, I co-founded Afrika Baraza, a platform for Africans to connect, collaborate, and share skills across the continent. My roles within WISCom and Afrika Baraza have enabled me to lead the drafting of the WISCom Charter, a white paper which aims to transform WISCom from a de facto hub to a fully-fledged organization and the African Agenda a document that I believe will advance the Movement Strategy 2030 in Africa, ensuring it remains inclusive and representative of diverse voices from the global South.

In the movement: I participated at the Wikimedia summit and was part of the first people to actively contribute to the Wikimedia Movement Strategy.

Please describe your professional career experience. Over the years I've played different roles. I was a secretariat for a government department (Department of Land Reform and Rural Development) sitting at the executive committee, I'm also a musician and I've worked at the UN as a knowledge Manager.
Please briefly describe 3 situations that show how you tackled, or advised others on, a complex problem in an organization. How did you work with others to address the situations? The WikiIndaba conference was scheduled at the same time as the Wiki Francophone convention, which posed a significant problem since both conferences, along with Wiki Arabia, share participants. I reached out to the leaders of both the Wiki Francophone convention and Wiki Arabia, emphasizing the need for collaboration to organize the three conferences in a way that avoids date conflicts.
Please describe your educational background, including degrees, certificates, and courses of study finished, and their relevance to board work. I have a degree in Communications Science.
Please add any relevant links describing your professional background, experience, profile (such as LinkedIn, staff page, etc.). https://www.linkedin.com/in/bobby-shabangu-76b309216/
Optional questions - Leadership Experience
Please describe ways in which you have helped to form a bridge between multiple communities (such as by working on projects outside your home wiki, or working on a collaboration between multiple affiliates). I have established a Southern African Community group consisting of Wikimedia volunteers from Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana. We are actively seeking volunteers from Angola, Mozambique, and Lesotho to join our group.
Can you describe a policy, on wiki or off, that you helped to create or change? What did you learn from this experience?
How have you been able to empower people to make their voices heard? In South Africa there is no Freedom of Panorama, which means that we can't take pictures and videos or public art. I'm part of the Wikimedians who lobbyed government to adopt copyright reform and sign the copyright amendment bill into law. As it stand a letter as it stands the bill is in the president's office waiting for his signature.
Sometimes in professional situations, there are personality conflicts. Explain how you remain productive even with personality conflicts.
Optional questions - Strategic Thinking
Where do you see the need for greater diversity in the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees or within the movement? What steps would you take to improve diversity on the Board or within the movement? What steps would you recommend the Board take to improve diversity? I think this question puts me in a perfect spot to apply to sit on the board. Besides the fact that I'm coming from a disadvantaged region, I've actually experienced all the challenges that African and people from the global south are experiencing because I've experienced first hand all the common challenges experienced by volunteers from the Global South.

I believe I will be that dissenting voice that brings a global South voice to the board while also keeping in mind of the existing structures. Hence the Ensuring Equity in Decision Making is one of the key priority areas from the Movement Strategy.

Verification Identity verification performed by Wikimedia Foundation staff and eligibility verification performed by the Elections Committee
Eligibility: Verified
Verified by: KTC (talk) 19:59, 3 June 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Identification: Verified
Verified by: – NahidSultan (WMF) (talk) 07:04, 3 June 2024 (UTC)[reply]