Cape Town, South Africa, for immediate release — Wiki Loves Africa (www.wikilovesafrica.net), the annual photography and media competition, is open for entries.
This year, Africa’s intrepid creatives are being asked to be visually inspired by nature's awesome and destructive power. Professional and amateur photographers, videographers, filmmakers, and audiophiles are invited to submit entries under the theme of Climate & Weather.
With the alarming statistics revealed at COP27 in 2022, Wiki Loves Africa is placing Climate and Weather at the forefront of the continental psyche.
The 1,237 billion people of Africa (16.5% of the global population) account for 284 million page views of Wikipedia each month – 1,9% of the knowledge platform’s total monthly readership. Those who read Wikipedia from Africa might not see themselves or their realities represented, including visual representations of how they experience climate and weather.
The contest's focus on Climate & Weather intentionally focuses the continent’s attention on the outdoors and the forces (natural and unnatural) that are shaping our world.
This year’s theme invites photographers and artists to capture the power of nature and how that changes from day to day, season to season, and decade to decade. The theme celebrates all visual examples of the prevailing climate zones and day-to-day weather conditions across Africa. Images, videos, and audio clips are expected to capture a variety of ‘normal’ and extreme climatic and atmospheric conditions, including (but not limited to) thunderstorms, floods, clouds, winds, hurricanes, fogs, rainfall, sunlight, scorched earth, erosion, change in water levels, landscape vegetation, extreme heat, snow, ice, extreme cold, etc., as well as focus their lenses on the more personal and capture the impact of climate change on communities across Africa.
The theme is an important one for the African Wikimedia Movement. Running concurrently by Wikimedia communities across Africa (and supported by the Africa Union) is the Africa Environment WikiFocus. To align the visuals being entered as part of Wiki Loves Africa and the content being added through the Africa Environment WikiFocus, two additional prizes have been added to the Wiki Loves Africa prize categories – for the best video and best photo essay or collection that represents the impact of climate change. The addition of these two categories brings the collective prize pot to USD10,500.
Since 2014 Wiki Loves Africa has been encouraging people across the continent to change the visual narrative, close the gaps, and alter global perceptions of “Africa '' on Wikipedia (and beyond). The contest has facilitated the addition of 88,640 alternate ‘African’ perspectives to the Wikipedia free-licensed media library, Wikimedia Commons. Wikipedia’s more than 55 million articles (in 2021) can be accessed in over 300 languages, for free, and without advertisements, all created by volunteers. One out of seven distinct images entered for Wiki Loves Africa now illustrates a Wikipedia article, and these images have been collectively viewed 1,23 billion times. This equates to over 1 billion opportunities for a previously negative or biased perspective of Africa or Africans to be revised, reviewed, or altered.
“[Wiki Loves Africa] encourages me to work more and keep searching to find narratives to give a voice to people of my community and Africa.”
– Mohamed Hozyen, Wiki Loves Africa prize winner in 2022 and 2019.
Wiki Loves Africa not only changes how Africa is perceived, but it also provides a very necessary visible platform to grow the skills of African professional photographers eager to present their visual artistry to the world. Over 10,000 photographers from 55 countries have submitted entries throughout Wiki Loves Africa’s history. This is no mean feat in a region where access to and access for professional photographers is notoriously low. World Press Photo’s annual competition laments that 2% of its global entries are submitted from Africa.
Wiki Loves Africa is open for entries until 30 April.
Entries are accepted from anywhere globally but must represent ‘Africa’ and the theme of Climate and Weather. Multiple events are being hosted by over 30 local volunteer Wikimedia communities across Africa. All entries must be released under a free license and uploaded via Wikimedia Commons, the media library for Wikipedia, and other Wikimedia knowledge portals.