Perrymason Adams edits a WikiAfrica article with the help of his mother Jane in Pretoria, South Africa. March 25, 2021. Handout via Bulelwa Dyasi

Society South Africa6. April 2021

Corona: Read Life-Saving Tips in Your Own Language

A group of young volunteers in South Africa took to the Internet to preserve some 20 African languages and create local content, notably about the coronavirus pandemic, to better help the population get accurate information.

“Language is very important, it’s the tool we use to communicate our understanding of the world,” says Perrymason Adams who volunteers with WikiAfrica Education, a project aimed at increasing Wikipedia content in African languages, and democratizing information.

During the lockdown, Adams felt like a “language activist” in his mission to translate pandemic-related topics in isiZulu and isiXhosa upon realizing that “this information could be life-saving.” So far, the WikiAfrica program has translated more than 40,000 entries in different African languages including Twi, Swahili Afrikaans, and Dagbani, and the translated articles have been viewed more than 500,000 times. The nonprofit organization Wikimedia South Africa even set up an “edit workshop” to teach people how to properly edit Wikipedia content.

Thomson Reuters Foundation

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