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I know we have been very quiet since last year but the Ulwazi Programme is now undergoing a transformation - over the next few months we will share with you our new interface and tools for engaging with us, as well as some fascinating new content. Watch this space!

Community Memory

The Community Memory section of the Ulwazi Programme holds indigenous knowledge and local histories - in English and Zulu - collected by volunteer fieldworkers from the communities in the eThekwini Municipality. Search the database or add or edit the existing entries.

The Ulwazi Programme

Digital information and communication technologies have revolutionised the ways in which knowledge and technical know-how travel around the world. The extent to which information requirements are met by the Internet throughout the world is reflected in usage statistics. According to the latest published figures 70 % of the population in North America use the Internet; usage in South America is 18 % whereas in Africa Internet penetration is 3.6% (Internet World Stats 2007).

Apart from the problem of accessibility, the global trend of using the Internet for preservation and dissemination of information causes a dilemma for the African information community. Amidst this world of plenty in terms of information and knowledge, the African local content on the Web is very low, because of lack of capacity to record, transfer and disseminate information. The result is that Africa is at a major disadvantage in the current knowledge economy and are poorly equipped to make a meaningful contribution to the African Renaissance. Buy-in to digital resources by local communities remains low because of the paucity of local content which contributes to the failure of digital skills development.

The Ulwazi programme is based on a model whereby online indigenous knowledge resources are established as an integral part of local Public Library and Information Services. Web 2.0 technologies are used to create a collaborative online local indigenous knowledge database. The community assumes ownership of the database, while the library focuses on custodianship of the information resource. Community participation ensures the collecting, recording and preserving of local knowledge, and ultimately accomplishes knowledge sharing, skills development, job opportunities and empowerment within communities. The library provides database management, training and support.

Help us improve Ulwazi

The Ulwazi Community Memory database is populated with content from volunteer field-workers. Sometimes they don’t have access to all the information necessary to write a comprehensive article or else an entry would benefit from an image or better categorization. We encourage the internet community at large and particularly people connected to the city of Durban to register an account through our wiki and help improve the Ulwazi Community Memory by editing and adding to articles.

Here are a couple of guidelines on what could be improved in articles.

  1. The article has no English summary.
  2. The article has no Zulu summary.
  3. The article has numerous spelling / grammatical errors.
  4. The article needs more information.
  5. The article needs one or more images.
  6. The article needs captions to the images.
  7. The article is not correctly categorized.
  8. The article is incorrectly formatted.
  9. The article needs a new title.