Wikimedia announces winners for Wiki Loves Africa 2017

Following an invitation late last year to photographers around the world, over 18,000 photos were shared of people at work on the African continent for the Wiki Loves Africa 2017.

An annual competition held since 2014, Wiki Loves Africa founders and organizers Isla Haddow Flood and Florence Devouard say that over 18,000 files in this year alone, were donated to Wikimedia Commons by nearly 2,500 people. 

Participants were asked to upload their photos in October and November 2017, and all African countries were welcome to participate. With local teams in participating countries on hand to introduce the site to local photographers, the competition resulted in 18,294 image uploads to Commons around the theme “People at Work”.

The photo contest entries went under review by a panel of photographic experts from around the world, and now, the jury has identified and announced three winners.

2nd Prize / 2eme prix: A man carries a huge hammerhead through the streets of Mogadishu, Somaliland by User:Marco Gualazzini. Courtesy: Wikimedia

First place in the global jury prize went to Cape Town-based freelance photographer Yann Macherez who decided to spend an afternoon with his camera and seaweed farmers in Jambiani—a village on the southeast coast of Zanzibar

Before farming seaweed was an option, many women in rural coastal communities were completely dependent on their husbands for their livelihoods. Today, women have found emancipation and an access to freedom because of this ‘gift’. According to Wikimedia Foundation, Macherez was quoted saying 

] that he wanted to learn: “the way they were farming it, what they did with their crop, and why they called it a “gift of the ocean”.

Italian photographer Marco Gualazzini, who became interested in photographing the continent to change Western attitudes about it, bagged second place with his photograph of a Somalian man carrying a dead hammerhead shark through the streets of Mogadishu. 

The photograph struck a chord with this year’s contest jury members according to Wikimedia, but stories like this are far from new for him. “Telling the story of Somalia’s rebirth” is a story Gualazzini has committed to more than anything he’s covered in Africa over nearly a decade of photographing the continent, he says. Third place went to Cairo-based lawyer Hassan Elsayed.

3rd Prize / 3eme prix: Traditional goat herders in Egypt by User:Hassanelsayadd. Courtesy: Wikimedia

The three winning images were only a small part of the latest Wiki Loves Africa photography and media competition, which showcases the continent’s rich diversity across a variety of themes.

This year for the first time, Wikimedia created two additional prize categories to establish photo essays: “Women at Work” and “Rare or threatened traditional ways of working”User:Rachelclarareed, from Tanzania, and Eric Atie, from Nigeria claimed those two prizes (respectively) with “Zanzibar seaweeds” and “The making of thatch“. A separate organizer’s prize went to User:Bentaylor13413 for his videos of glassmaking.

The Organisers Prize was awarded to two media from the same Glass in Swaziland photo essay by user:Bentaylor13413 while the winning country in terms of participation was Nigeria with 3041 pictures. and the competition also shared a total of 66 images as its best images from this year’s edition.

A total of 40,000 photos have been uploaded in the contest’s history.