Exceptional Photographs Celebrate Play across Africa on Wikipedia

Cape Town, South Africa, 29 July 2019 – In the 5th year of hosting the Wiki Loves Africa photographic competition, Wiki In Africa is pleased to announce the final international winners. During the six weeks of the competition held in February and March 2019, 1335 people contributed just shy of 9000 images, sound files and videos files that broadly capture Play! across the continent.

A jury of photographers from across Africa deliberated on the 8,9811 images. The jury selected images that provide a brief glimpse at sheer variety of ways in which people across Africa spend their spare time – some are universal, others particular to their way of life. After an exhaustive jury process that lasted several intense weeks, they decided on the following winners:

Some children playing on the wreck of an Antonov Transport plane. — Playing in the Nuba mountains.jpg () by Marco Gualazzini, CC-BY-SA-4.0.

1st place prize goes to the image Playing in the Nuba Mountains by Marco Gualazzini taken in South Sudan. Download link

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This is an image with the theme “Play” from:
Hide from each other.jpg () by Summering2018, CC-BY-SA-4.0.

2nd Prize goes to Peekaboo by Summer Kamal taken in Egypt. Download link

English: Children playing street football in Egypt, one of the most famous games in Africa. Boys playing hard and showing their skills and how talented they are .
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My Skills.jpg () by Mohamed Hozyen Ahmed , CC-BY-SA-4.0.

3rd prize goes to Teenagers in street by Mohamed Hozyen Ahmed (also from Egypt). Download link

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The prize for Women in Sport : Girls fighting by Yvonne Youmbi from Cameroon. Download link

العربية: الفانتازيا؛ وتسمى أيضا الخيالة والباردية والتّبُوريدَة وصحاب البارود اسم يطلق على عروض فروسية، تحاكي هجمات عسكرية، تمارس في بلدان المغرب العربي، في مختلف مناطقها، العربية والأمازيغية والصحراوية، إضافة إلى بلدان أوروبية كفرنسا وبلجيكا، بين جالياتها المغاربية

تمتد التسمية أيضا يطلق على النوع الرياضي المرتبط بهذا الفن. تكمن رمزيتها في تجسيدها لتعلق شعوب المغرب العربي بالأحصنة والفروسية، التي تمثل رمزاً تاريخياً وتراثياً تتوارث الأجيال العناية به. يتم في مشاهد الفانتازيا استخدام بعض ألعاب الخيل أو البارود من خلال تمثيليات لبعض الهجمات يشنها فرسان على متن خيولهم المزينة، مطلقين لعيارات من البارود. وهي ذات شعبية واسعة لدى الجمهور، وتشكل الفرجة الرئيسية للمهرجانات الثقافية والفنية (المعروفة ب«الموسم» أو «الوعدة»)، التي تنظم في المناطق القروية المغاربية. وتتمتع بجاذبية قوية بسبب قدرتها على إبهار المشاهدين بفضل صبغة الغموض والأساطير التاريخية القديمة التي تجعلها تضفي تأثيرا وسحرا خاصين علي محبي تلك المشاهد

كانت الفانتازيا ثابتا في الاحتفالات والأعياد الكبرى، مثل حفلات الزفاف والولادات والأعياد الدينية والمواسم الثقافية الفنية، ثم انحسرت تدريجيا، في بعض المناطق المغاربية إلى الجانب السياحي الثقافي البحت. مازالت الشعوب والقبائل المغاربية تحافظ قدر المستطاع على هذه العادة رغم المؤثرات الخارجية، أهمها العولمة، وهي تعتبر استحضارا لملاحمها العسكرية التاريخية، ورمزا للقوة والشجاعة والإقدام.

en: Fantasy; also called horse, cold, tiborda and gunpowder owners, a name given to equestrian performances, which simulate military attacks, are practiced in the countries of the Arab Maghreb, in their various regions, Arab, Berber, and desert, in addition to European countries such as France and Belgium, among their Maghreb communities. The designation also extends to the mathematical type associated with this art. Its symbolism is embodied in its embodiment of the attachment of the people of the Maghreb to horses and horsemanship, which represents a historical and heritage symbol that is passed on to the generations. In fantasy scenes some horse or gunpowder games are used through representations of some attacks by knights aboard their decorated horses, launching gunpowder bullets. It is popular with the public, and it is the main spectator of cultural and art festivals (known as “the season” or “the promise”), which are organized in the Maghreb rural areas. And it has a strong appeal because of its ability to dazzle viewers thanks to the tint of mystery and ancient historical myth that impart a special effect and charm to fans of those scenes Fantasy was a constant in major celebrations and festivals, such as weddings, births, religious feasts, and artistic cultural seasons, and then gradually receded, in some Maghreb regions, to the purely cultural tourism aspect. Maghreb peoples and tribes still maintain this habit, despite external influences, the most important of which is globalization, and it is considered an evocation of its historical military features, and a symbol of strength, courage and bravery.(Google Translate)

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This is an image with the theme “Play” from:
ألعاب الفنتازيا و الفروسية من الشرق الجزائري 3.jpg () by Sofiane mohammed amri, CC-BY-SA-4.0.

Special prize for traditional forms of play goes to Horses by Sofiane Mohammed Amri in Algeria. Download link

Just as the prizes represent many different ways of playful and recreational relaxation, so too do the experience levels of the prize winning photographers. Marco Gualazzini is a professional photographer for the last 15 years from Italy who’s award winning career has led him to “focus my work almost exclusively on conflicts and humanitarian crisis in Africa”. 

He explained that “I took this picture in South Kordofan where I developed a story on the aerial bombing campaign conducted by the Sudan’s army. Civilians fled to caves in the Nuba Mountains to avoid the aerial bombardment. Humanitarian aid organizations pulled out their workers and the government of Sudan banned journalists from entering the region. Nowadays there is no reliable data on the number of people who have lost limbs, or been physically affected in other ways, since the war began in the Nuba Mountain region in June of 2011. To this day it remains illegal for NGOs to work in the field and for journalists, both national and international, to report on the rebellion taking place in the Nuba Mountains.

“I shoot this picture in the Yida Refugee Camp. We got in the South Kordofan through the South Sudan. One day I saw the children play on the Antonov’s wreak, and I knew the Sudan’s government was using those Antonovs to drop the bombs that were killing those same children or their parents, or their friends. The contrast was so striking I decide to take this picture. Most of the time I sat down and I waited in order to give to the children the time to get used to me being there. After a while they started to play again, and then along came this shot.”

Second prize winner, Summer Kamal, used to work as a teacher. She recently resigned to practice her favorite hobby, photography. She explained that she took this shot on a trip with  “Adasa” Club for Photography to Nuba City in Upper Egypt: “As I was walking through the streets of Nubia City in Upper Egypt, two children were playing together and I was waiting for the right moment.”

Third prize winner, Mohamed Hozyen Ahmed, started photography since 4 years ago and has joined several contests and exhibitions. Last January he won the 3rd place of contest in Egypt  about Beautiful Egypt, and was honored by the Pope of the Egyptian Church in the Patriarchate in Egypt. He especially loves street and documentary photography which shows in his winning shot that was captured one friday morning. As he recalls, it was “a walk in the historically famous area in Cairo call Moaaz Street. I found these guys having a real football match, which I love and took me back to my old days when I was young and used to play in the streets. The game that is adored in Egypt is football! So I stayed and kept watching them. I found that they are really talented. So I took some shots of them while they were playing. This picture is one of the shots and I was blessed to get the right moment to take the picture before the boy scored an amazing goal as he showed his beautiful skills.” 

Wiki Loves Africa chose Play! as the central theme for the 2019 visual celebration of Africa’s cultural diversity on Wikipedia. The competition ran from the 1st February to 15th March 2019 and entries were welcomed from anywhere on the continent and beyond. View the video below for more details on the competition:

Everyone was encouraged to contribute photos that reflected the theme to the competition. Events were held in 19 countries – Algeria, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ghana, Guinée, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe – to inspire further contribution and build Wikipedia savvy communities around the competition. These events took on the form of introductory workshops, photographic excursions and upload sessions . The events also encouraged ongoing pride in local heritage and cultural practice, as well as to foster a culture of contribution to the internet to shake up the single story of Africa.

For the last five years, the Wiki Loves Africa contest has encouraged the donation of nearly 50,000 photographs to Wikimedia Commons for potential use on Wikipedia. In the first year, under the theme Cuisine, 873 people contributed 6,116 photographs. Cultural fashion and adornment was the theme for the next year, 2015, which saw 722 people contribute over 7,500 photographs. In 2016, Music and Dance contributed 7917 files from 836 people. In 2017, under the theme “People at Work” 18,294 photographs were entered by 2,473 people.

Wiki Loves Africa is activated by the Wikimedia community that created Wikipedia in support of WikiAfrica movement. The competition was conceptualised and is managed by Florence Devouard and Isla Haddow-Flood of Wiki In Africa as a fun and engaging way to rebalance the lack of visual representations and relevant content that exists about Africa on Wikipedia. The competition is supported by Ynternet.org, is funded by the Wikimedia Foundation and supported in-kind by UNESCO and a host of local partners in individual countries. The images donated are available for use on the internet and beyond, under the Creative Commons license CC BY SA 4.0.


About Wiki In Africa

Wiki In Africa empowers and engages the citizens of Africa and its diaspora to collect, develop and contribute open educational and relevant content that relates to the theme of Africa under a free license; and to engage in global knowledge systems by encouraging access to, awareness of, and support for open knowledge, the open movement and the Wikimedia projects, working in collaboration with like-minded organisations.

Wiki In Africa is a non-profit organisation that is based in South Africa. It is the financial and legal structure that operates global initiatives in support of the WikiAfrica movement. The organisation is currently lead by Iolanda Pensa, Florence Devouard and Isla Haddow-Flood. 

During 2019 it is working on WikiFundi and the WikiChallenge African Schools (funded by the Orange Foundation), WikiAfrica Schools, Wiki Loves Africa and Wiki Loves Women.


About WikiAfrica

WikiAfrica is an international movement that takes place on the African continent and beyond. It encourages individuals, interested groups and organisations to create, expand and enhance online content about Africa. This involves motivating for the representation of the continent’s contemporary realities and history, its peoples and its innovations on the world’s most used encyclopaedia, Wikipedia. WikiAfrica is not owned by one organisation and it belongs to all people and organisations contributing to its scope.

In its various guises and hosted at several institutions (including lettera27, Africa Centre, Ynternet.org, Short Story Day Africa, Wikimedia CH and Wiki In Africa), the WikiAfrica movement has consistently instigated and led multi-faceted innovative projects. These projects have activated communities and driven content onto Wikipedia. Examples include Share Your Knowledge, #OpenAfrica training Courses and Toolkits, Kumusha Bus (in Ethiopia and Ghana), WikiEntrepreneur (in Ethiopia and Malawi), Kumusha Takes Wiki (Cote d’Ivoire and Uganda), Wikipedia Primary (funded by SUPSI), Wikipack Africa, WikiAfrica Schools, WikiFundi, WikiChallenge, WikiAfrica Schools, Wiki Loves Women and Wiki Loves Africa


About Ynternet.org

Ynternet.org Foundation was created in 1998 on the invitation of Swiss Confederation to facilitate, identify and promote new learning culture within digital environments. In 2006 it changed its status from association to foundation, as an independent body within civil society. Based in the university campus of Battelle (Geneva, Switzerland), it is serving public interest in multilateral projects and private-public partnership. 60-80 contributors each year, including experts, social entrepreneurs and volunteers, are contributing to Ynternet.org mission of promoting responsible behaviours in digital environment. Ynternet.org has been successfully audited for its activities (2013 – 2015), at European level, both as coordinator and partner on two separate EU projects.


About the Wikimedia Foundation

The Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. is the nonprofit charitable organisation that is dedicated to encouraging the growth, development and distribution of free, multilingual, educational content, and to providing the full content of these wiki-based projects to the public free of charge. The Wikimedia Foundation operates some of the largest collaboratively edited reference projects in the world, including Wikipedia, a top-ten internet property.


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