Wikimania 2018 – Cape Town, South Africa

CC.SA.4.0 Blanca Flores


Wikimania is the biggest gathering of Wikimedians in the world.
The theme of Wikimania 2018 was, “Bridging knowledge gaps—the Ubuntu way forward”. Here Ubuntu doesn’t refer to Operating System Ubuntu. Ubuntu, according to South African philosophy means, “humanity towards others”or as often translated “I am because you are.”[1]
When I first read the theme about this year Wikimania, the first thing that popped on my mind was “Maybe the way Ubuntu was founded or created, was similar to Wikimedia,” then I read the story behind the theme and I thought that – It is unforgivable that me as a Ubuntu fan at least for the last 5 years, not to know the meaning of the name behind it!
My Wikimania 2018 journey started one year ago, when my Canadian Visa for Wikimania 2017 was refused.Wikimedia Foundation decided that all scholarship recipients who could not make it to Montreal because of visa issues, could use their scholarship for the next Wikimania in Cape Town. The only thing stopping me from Wikimania 2018 was again, another visa application 🙂 which this time was successful.

Since I already had a scholarship, I decided to be part of the Scholarship Committee to help select the scholarship recipients for this year, which its self was an interesting experience.
I arrived in Cape Town on 16th July and had some time before the event to see a bit around. With my two Albanian firends, Jona and Liridon started our sightseeing with a small tour around the city where our tour guide told us interesting facts about the parts of the city we visited like Bo-Kaap – traditionally a multicultural area, known for its brightly coloured homes and cobble stoned streets.
I regretted right away for not extending my stay for a few more days after the event since there was so much to see and do there.
Jona, Liridon, Faith and myself hiked the table mountain the next day. According to the guide it was a 2h30min hike. But I managed to do it in 1h23min. Each one of us had their personal time 🙂

After that, we took the bus to Cape Point with one stop at Simon’s Town (Penguinssss). The bus was a bit expensive but was the safest and the fastest choice. Though, I was told that the train ride was an adventure, fun for some but not so nice for some others who got robbed 🙁

CC.SA.4.0 Liridon

Simon’s Town CC.SA.4.0 Margott

The happy couple. CC.SA.4.0 Margott

Different from other events I’ve attended, this time I wrote a small agenda with the sessions that I must attend and get more specific knowledge rather than general knowledge, and I stuck (almost) strictly to that. I had many questions; those to be answers from a session; and those that only 1:1 conversations with someone involved in a certain project could provide.

There were two days of pre-conference and the actual conference days began on 20 July with a beautiful opening ceremony. After that, I had to jump from one talk to another, learning a lot of things and trying to make new friends. I learned new things, but didn’t make many new wikifriends, not sure why, maybe I’m losing my socialize skills :P.

I was part of many talks during Wikimania, but the next one was a bit special – During the Coolest Projects of Wikimedia Chapters – Be Inspired session, WikiGap was selected the coolest project of 2018.. WikiGap was a worldwide event initiated by Wikimedia Sweden in collaboration with Local Wikimedia Affliates and Swedish embassies. I was one of the co-organizers for WikiGap Albania, so when Deror asked:- “Do we have someone here from the Wikigap?” I raised my hand and he asked me to join him to the stage and accept the prize. What he really wanted was actually someone from Wikimedia Sweden :). But it was my pleasure to accidentally accept the prize on behalf of them, and they were happy too as proven by this tweet here:

On that evening we visited Two Oceans Aquarium. It was the place where the welcome reception was held.

CC.SA.40 Ranjithsiji

I checked almost all the exhibition rooms, had some drinks with old friends and immersed myself in the wonders of the ocean.
After midnight we got back to our hotel and got ready for the next 2 intensive days.
For the next 2 days, I spent mostly of my time at sessions about GLAM(Gallery, Library, Archive, Museum), Education and minor Languages. My main goal was to know how to work with institutions that are the main resource of information, and how our Albanian User Group can help Albanian institutions to digitise their content in Public Licences.

While all the different sessions were ongoing on the 2nd and 3rd floor, a special session was happening on the last floor – Wikimedia Movement Strategic Process 2030. For 3 days, the strategic team worked on the direction: Service and Equity. By 2030, Wikimedia will become the essential infrastructure of the ecosystem of free knowledge, and anyone who shares Wikimedia vision will be able to join it. To read more about it, see here.
To conclude, I’m very grateful for the opportunity that Wikimedia Foundation gave me to be part of this event and also I’m glad that I had the opportunity to share the work that our community is doing.
It was my best so far!

Thank you and happy editing.