Open letter for free access to Wikipedia on mobile in South Africa

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In November 2012, the students of Sinenjongo High School penned an open letter on Facebook, encouraging cellphone carriers to waive data charges for accessing Wikipedia so they can do their homework. In May 2013, filmmaker Charlene Music and I asked them to read their open letter on camera. Below is the video of their letter:

The cost of data is a major obstacle to accessing the free knowledge on Wikipedia for hundreds of millions of people. These students want their cellphone carriers to sign up to Wikipedia Zero, a partnership program organized by the Wikimedia Foundation to enable mobile access to Wikipedia – free of data charges – in developing countries.

We will be sharing the longer documentary about the class as soon as it’s ready. While we are still editing the longer documentary, we’re looking for:

1.) A few skilled volunteers who can help to translate captions to accompany the video above and the longer documentary. There are currently eleven official languages in South Africa alone. We need volunteers to create captions for all those languages, and as many other languages as possible.

2.) A motion graphics or digital artist who could help us design and animate a few titles, maps and statistics for the documentary. If you are interested, feel free to email me: vgrigas at or get in touch with me on my talk page User:Vgrigas.

3.) If you agree with these students, please share the video above.

Victor Grigas
Visual Storyteller, Wikimedia Foundation


‘n Ope brief vir gratis toegang tot Wikipedia

In November 2012, het studente van [1] ‘n ope brief geskryf aan selfoon netwerke om hulle te motifeer om geen data kostes te hef wanneer studente Wikipedia gebruik nie sodat hulle dit kan gebruik wanneer hulle huiswerk doen. In Mei 2013 het Charlene Music en ek vir hulle gevra om hulle ope brief vir ons te lees op kamera. Hieronder is die brief.

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Die video is ook beskikbaar op hier. Asook, hier is ‘n weergawe sonder Engelse subtitels op Wikimedia Commons en op YouTube hier. Die URL aan die einde van die video is ‘n skakel na die bladsy wat die klas opgestel het.

Die koste van data is ‘n groot struikelblok wat gratis toegang to Wikipedia vir miljoene mense belemmer. Hierdie studente will hê dat hul selfoon netwerke aansluit by Wikipedia Zero, ‘n program georganiseer deur Wikimedia Foundation om selfoon toegang tot Wikipedia – sonder data kostes – moontlik te maak in ontwikkelende lande.

Ons sal die langer dokumentêr oor die klas deel sodra dit gereed is. Terwyl ons dit nog verwerk soek ons na:

1. ‘n Paar vrywilligers wat kan help om onderskrifte te vertaal vir die video asook die langer dokumentêr. Daar is tans [2] elf offisiële tale in Suid Afrika alleen. Ons benodig vrywilligers vir al elf tale en so veel as moontlik ander tale indien moontlik.

2. ‘n Grafiese kunstenaar wat ons kan help met titels, kaarte en statistieke vir die dokumentêr. Indien jy belangstel, kontak my: vgrigas at of maak kontak op my bladsy hier User:Vgrigas.

3. As jy saamstem met hierdie studente, deel asseblief die video hierbo.

Victor Grigas
Visual Storyteller, Wikimedia Foundation

Archive notice: This is an archived post from, which operated under different editorial and content guidelines than Diff.

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ndiziva ndichulumancile yile mbono noxa ndingekayibambi ncam eyona njongo yayo. kodwa into endiyaziyo ndandizibuza ukuba kutheni isiXhosa singekho nje kuwikipedia.ndade ndanembono yokuqala iphulo elikwanje lokuba abafundi nabaphandi bakwazi ukufumana isiXhosa. ndiva lo mfundi efuna ukufumana ulwazi ngesaphulelo. ndifuna ukuqonda ke ngoku ukuba iguqulo lwimi lona lungena ndawoni, kule ndawo ndiyitshoyo yokufumana ulwazi kwiwikipedia ngeelwimi zesintu? ukba kunjalo ndiyazivolotiya ukutolika isiXhosa ukuba ixesha alixinenanga kuba ndikwasebenza lo msebenzi woguqulo emini. Enkosi ozingcayo ngesiXhosa.

[…] seeks to provide free access to Wikipedia over cell phone networks. He showed a never-before seen video of school children in South Africa who wrote an open letter to carriers to explain how much Wikipedia helps them with their studies […]

Hello zingi guzana, Thank you for your comment! My understanding is that you have said: “I feel excited about this and think it’s a good idea though I haven’t yet understood its full meaning. I have always wondered why there were no Xhosa pages on Wikipedia until I thought of starting a petition like this one where we would campaign for a Xhosa Wikipedia. Now I’m seeing these students who are petitioning for a free access to Wikipedia but I just want to know how translating and editing on Wikipedia works concerning the Xhosa Wikipedia (and/or other African languages)? I… Read more »

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