Whose Knowledge, whose Internet?


THREE decades of online communication, and an ongoing electronic struggle and yet our country South Africa, is desperately lagging behind the West when it comes to the dissemination of knowledge and information technology.

Compounding this problem is neo-colonialism, hegemony, the ‘loudhailer on steroids’ issuing forth from Northern Countries, dominating the wires and fibre optic cables and literally flooding our computer screens with trivia about an emerging global culture, one which to paraphrase Brian Eno, “is incomplete without Africa”.

Billed as the “first ever conference about centering marginalized knowledge online”, Whose Knowledge decolonizing the Internet is a pre-conference in the runup to this years Wikimania, which is being held in Cape Town later this week.

“51% of the world is online today,” say the organisers “but the Internet doesn’t represent our diversity.”

“The knowledge of marginalized communities is the knowledge of the majority of the world. Yet most online public knowledge still skews towards white, male, and global North knowledge. It is a hidden crisis of our times.”

The organisers plan to “convene marginalized community organizers, technologists, scholars, artists, and Wikimedians in the first conference of its kind.”

“The change we hope to create: With these newly created alliances and networks, we will work together towards more diversity and inclusion in the experience of internet design, architecture, content, and governance. We intend to dramatically change the way the internet represents the majority of the world.”

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