Victor Grigas, Wikimedia foundation storyteller and fundraiser. (twitter.com)
The Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organisation (NPO) running Wikipedia, recently filmed the Joe Slovo Grade 12 class for a documentary, featuring requests for free online access to aid in their school work.
Despite the letter-based request being sent in 2012, no response had been made until Victor Grigas, Wikimedia foundation storyteller and fundraiser, came across the story online and connected with Pam Robertson, one of the teachers at the school.
Grigas flew from the United States to film the learners at their school.
Sinombongo Macekiswayo, one of the pupils who wrote the letter, told Tabletalk: “Wikipedia to us is a reliable source because it is updates and the information is clear.”
“We can get answers on every topic we research,” she added.
Macekiswayo explained most children had mobile phones, although not all of them can afford airtime on a regular basis.
“Wikipedia will have a positive impact on the education system in South Africa,” Macekiswayo believes.
Robertson said: “If schools in rural areas could have free access to Wikipedia, it could make a tremendous difference.”
Emphasising the positive advantages of the idea, Grigas said: “From a business perspective, you will have educated people who can improve your business.”
Though unsure when the documentary will be broadcasted, the filmmaker said: “We’re here to give these kids a voice.”
Grigas, accompanying filmmaker Charlene Music and Botswanan volunteer Oarabile Mudongo, also met up with a former student of Sinenjongo in Johannesburg, now a networking engineer student at Botho University.