Decolonising Knowledge Production Decolonise the Internet

Decolonise the Internet Banner
Lungi Molefe © Goethe-Institut
  • 01. January 2020 — 31. December 2021

  • Postcolonial world order, Postcolonial development cooperation, Decolonisation

  • Capetown (South Africa); Accra (Ghana); Lagos (Nigeria); Windhoek (Namibia); Kigali (Rwanda); Addis Abeba (Ethiopia); Dakar (Senegal); Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire); Yaoundé (Cameroon); Nairobi (Kenya)

The project addresses issues relating to artificial intelligence, machine learning, the impacts of algorithms and the question of whether, to what extent and how the internet must and can be decolonised.
About 75 percent of the online community lives in the Global South, but only 20 percent of active online knowledge is created there. Due to relevance criteria and citation rules as well as the dominance of white male authors from the “Western” world, it can be difficult for African knowledge to find its way into Wikipedia, especially if the articles are written in one of the colonial languages.
The project Decolonise the Internet supports the creation of articles in African languages and translations to upgrade the integration of knowledge about the African continent into Wikipedia and the internet. It aims to heighten awareness of the extent to which algorithms and artificial intelligence normalise racism and what can be done about it. In addition, it aims in particular to invite and train female authors to work on Wikipedia, and to write as many articles as possible about African heroines and female role models.
A further project goal is to use WikiData and WikiCommons for oral quotations. In many African countries, information, myths, stories and traditional knowledge are passed on orally - a world of unwritten knowledge that follows its own rules and has its own art forms.
In the follow-up to work on decolonisation at the 2018 Wikimania conference in Cape Town and in close cooperation with Wikipedia groups in various countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the Goethe-Institut, in partnership with a variety of associations and institutions, is now seeking a discourse on how algorithms influence our view of the world and how civil rights can be defended in digital space. These topics will be addressed in a range of innovative formats such as barcamps, unconferences, editathons, edit jams, editing and translation competitions, hackathons, discussion events and artistic interventions.

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