SA pupils ask mobile operators to give them Wikipedia

06 November 2013 - 17:56 By Times LIVE

Grade 11 pupils from Sinenjongo High School, Joe Slovo Park, Milnerton, Cape Town have launched a petition calling on South African mobile providers to allow free access to Wikipedia.

"We recently heard that in some other African countries like Kenya and Uganda certain cell phone providers are offering their customers free access to Wikipedia," the pupils wrote in an open letter to Cell C, MTN, Vodacom and 8ta on

The pupils believe that this effort could work well in South Africa, where most people have cell phones but not all of our schools have libraries.

"Our school does not have a library at all so when we need to do research we have to walk a long way to the local library.

"When we get there we have to wait in a queue to use the one or two computers which have the internet.

"At school we do have 25 computers but we struggle to get to use them because they are mainly for the learners who do CAT (Computer Application Technology) as a subject. Going to an internet cafe is also not an easy option because you have to pay per half hour.

"90% of us have cell phones but it is expensive for us to buy airtime so if we could get free access to Wikipedia it would make a huge difference to us," the pupils wrote.