The Swahili Wikipedia has just passed the Afrikaans Wikipedia to become the largest African-language Wikipedia by number of articles.
African Language Wikipedias – number of articles
So while Swahili has raced ahead with great momentum (it grew by four in the course of writing this article), and Afrikaans continues solidly, the pace has slowed somewhat for Yoruba, Amharic and Lingala. The Wolof Wikipedia is also approaching the 1000 article milestone, and, currently on 969 articles, should reach it this year.
I haven’t specifically looked at the African-language Wiktionaries before, outside of the South African languages. Here, Afrikaans still leads. Yoruba and Lingala don’t feature at all, while some languages show surprising interest relative to their Wikipedia size; Malagasy, Oromo, Sotho and Tsonga, for example. I wonder if a relatively more active Wiktionary shows more linguist interest in the project rather than community interest. Outside of linguists, most people would tend to gravitate to the much more exciting task of writing an encyclopedia rather than writing a dictionary.
African Language Wiktionaries – number of entries
So while at least a few African languages Wikipedias show progress, besides English and Afrikaans, it’s the same old refrain for the South African languages. All have shown short bursts of energy, mainly due to individual editors, there’s not been much progress.
South African Language Wikipedias – number of articles
* – incubator
Besides Afrikaans, none of the other languages have shown any progress at all. Northern Sotho still remains stuck in the Incubator and is unlikely to emerge with current levels of activity. Articles bemoaning the undervaluing of the humanities and the related disastrous effect on the general standard of education still appear regularly in the local media, and many South Africans are still unable to communicate effectively in any language. First languages, with the exception of English, and mainly for historical reasons, Afrikaans, are not well-served, and people are not learning them properly, instead being encouraged to communicate in a second-rate English.
It’s an indictment of South African universities that have local language departments that there’s been so little activity, and so little progress with integrating and raising the profile of the other nine languages.
Similarly, most of the South African Wiktionaries have had almost no activity this year.
South African Language Wiktionaries – number of entries
Still, although progress is slow, the dream of a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge is getting ever closer to reality.
- The state of Wikimedia projects in South African and Africa – Dec 2008
- The South African Wikimedia communities
- Venda Wikipedia Progress
- First Wikipedia Academy in Africa
- Wikipedia Week
- Of rock stars and Wikipedia translation
- Wikipedia translation tool
- Afrikaans Wikipedia hits 5000 articles
- Templates on the Afrikaans Wikipedia, and a translating tool
- Afrikaans Wikipedia hits 4000 articles
- Wikimedia and the FLOSS conference in Pretoria