Wikimania Capetown – An Experience To Remember

Wikimania, the annual global conference of the Wikimedia Foundation, who runs, among others, the popular free knowledge site Wikipedia, this year was held at Cape Town, South Africa. With 123 other volunteers from around the World, I was one of the full scholarship recipient this year to attend the conference. Being my first Wikimania I was really excited and at the same time a bit nervous.

There was a two day pre conference before the three day main event. But most of us arrived 2 days prior to the pre event. The venue as well as accommodation was at the centrally located Southern Sun Cape Sun Hotel. The first thing I noticed after reaching my home was the excellent view of the iconic Table Mountains from my room. The next few days I took uncountable shots of the majestic structure, and yet craved to take more and more.

The day before the pre-conference, I, along with a group of around 17 other Wikimedians, went to hike the Table Mountains. The initial plan was among 4 of us, but more people started joining, and soon it was a big happy family. The hike was strenuous, specially for people like me, but on the way I made new friends as we hiked together panting, searching for water (there was water for just four according to the initial plan), cracking jokes and again going back to panting some more. But at the end of the day what mattered was reaching the top and the accomplishment of successfully doing that.

At the gathering that evening I met many new Wikimedians for the first time, some of whom I only knew online before. It was the time to catch up with old friends too. I discussed a lot and came to know about the local community of Iran and Azerbaijan.

The Learning Days and Hackathon for the next two pre-conference days were really exciting.

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