The 8th edition of Wiki Loves Africa – one of Africa’s largest photographic competitions – that takes place across Africa is open for entries. This year, professional and amateur photographers, videographers, filmmakers, audiophiles, and Commonists are invited to submit entries under the theme of Home and Habitat.
Wiki Loves Africa has challenged the distorting lens of Western media stereotypes since 2014. It encourages people across the continent to change the visual narrative, close the gaps and alter global perceptions of “Africa ” on Wikipedia (and beyond).
“A single image holds immense power. This power has been welded with dire consequences to paint a negative ‘single story’ of Africa. That power can also be used to positive effect. Wiki Loves Africa ensures that the myriad stories of ‘Africa’ are captured and shared. Not just with Wikipedia’s global audience but, more importantly with the people from the continent.”Isla Haddow-Flood, Wiki Loves Africa co-creator
Focus on Home & Habitat
The focus on Home and Habitat this year is a natural progression after last year’s Health + Wellness. This year’s theme invites photographers and artists to visually explore what home means, how it reflects our identity, and how it integrates with the larger environments that we inhabit. In the era of COVID the concept of home as either a physical or emotional space, a place of permanence, safety or solace, has been both challenged and reinforced by enforced lockdowns.
Competitors are asked to explore the many aspects of home and habitat, including, but not limited to, types and uses of residence, locations, institutions, and communities, as well as the traditional or contemporary architectural structures, aesthetic choices, design details and construction materials that make up and distinguish a house or community. Habitat is not limited to community or humans, and we are excited to receive reflections of animals at ‘home’ or in their natural environments.
A new visual narrative for Africa
Since 2014 Wiki Loves Africa has facilitated the addition of 73,000 alternative ‘African’ perspectives to the Wikipedia free licenced 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. Not every image that is entered for Wiki Loves Africa illustrates a Wikipedia article.
Only 1 in 7 distinct images submitted to the contest – just over 14% – have yet to make it onto a Wikipedia page, but those images that are on articles have been collectively viewed 942 million times. This equates to nearly 1 billion opportunities where a previously negative or biased perspective of Africa or Africans has been revised, reviewed, or altered.
“The relatively easy task of uploading images to an information mega portal, like Wikipedia, provides Africans with an opportunity to share their ‘Africa’, their identity, contemporary reality, and rich heritage. The lack of African representation online can only be changed by Africans. Wiki Loves Africa is a fun, easy way to do that,”Florence Devouard, Wiki Loves Africa co-creator.
Wiki Loves Africa not only changes how Africa is perceived – the contest also provides a very necessary visible platform to grow the skills of African professional photographers who are eager to present their visual artistry to the world. Over 9,000 photographers from 53 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 15 April.
Entries are accepted from anywhere on the globe but must represent ‘Africa’ and the theme of Home & Habitat. There are multiple events being hosted by 30 local volunteer Wikimedia communities across Africa. All entries must be released under a free licence and uploaded via Wikimedia Commons, the media library for Wikipedia and other Wikimedia knowledge portals.
Get involved! Here’s how …
- Enter photographs, videos, or audio files to the competition: Wiki Loves Africa 2022 competition portal.
2. Attend a local event or find out more about Wikimedia in your country. Here’s whats happening across Africa’s Wikimedia community (and even in Hiati!).
3. Share – let your friends and family know about the Wiki Loves Africa competition and the photos you have submitted on social media using #WikiLovesAfrica, and tag @WikiLovesAfrica in your posts.