Africa is a continent of over a billion people, who speak more than a thousand languages. Many of those are spoken by over a million people, in no particular order: Yoruba, Tsonga, Zulu, Tigrinya, Akan, Swahili, Hausa, Chewa, Xhosa, Makhuwa, Oromo, Sango, Ndebele, Igbo, Kongo, Tswana, Fula, Fon, Amharic, Sotho, Dinka, Bemba, Dioula, and many, many more.
Unfortunately, Wikipedias and other Wikimedia projects in these languages have very few articles and contributors. In some of these there is no project at all!
Having the Wikimania conference and the Hackathon in Africa is an excellent opportunity to take a close look at these projects and understands what is blocking them from developing. This is especially appropriate with regards to technical issues:
- Translation of MediaWiki user interface
- Support for keyboards and fonts: typing with special characters, displaying fonts on various devices, etc.
- Capability to translate articles
- Capability to add and edit information in Wikidata
- Support for searching
- Importing templates from other projects
- Taking projects out of Incubator into their own domains
It is also an opportunity to learn about any other special needs that communities that write in different languages have, the status of the languages in their societies and countries, their use in education, availability of resources such as dictionaries and textbooks, and so on.