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Matete Lesele has scooped the honour of being the only South African among top 50 librarians to edit a high number of articles during Wikipedia’s Edit-a-Thon, a virtual editing marathon.

A combination of ‘edit’ and ‘marathon’, the Edit-a-Thon is held biannually. It’s designed to encourage ordinary people, including librarians, writers and editors of online communities to edit, update and improve the quality of content on Wikipedia, the world’s most famous virtual encyclopaedia.

The initiative coverers topics such as women’s history, art, feminism, cultural heritage sites, museum collections, narrowing Wikipedia’s gender gap and social justice issues.

It highlights the importance of helping fill gaps in African literature by adding content and missing references to articles about the continent on Wikipedia. Edit-a-Thon aims to create reliable African content on Wikipedia for the benefit of its global readers.

Five librarians from the City’s libraries took part in the African Librarians Week during the hard lockdown, where Matete was crowned champion. The event was hosted by advocacy group, African Library and Information Associations and Institution (AfLIA) in collaboration with the Wikimedia Foundation.

Matete walked home with the honours and a certificate of recognition. “We live in a technological era. I’m all about e-Learning and empowering young people through e-Learning,” he says.

Based at the municipal library in Randburg, Matete initiates and implements e-Learning programmes to educate library users of all ages. He also helps – at his own volition – pupils visiting the library with their homework, assignments and projects. 

“As much as I believe in the traditional use of the library, technology helps us to easily retrieve information remotely.”

Matete joined the City in November 2016 from BL Birds in Hoedspruit, Limpopo, where he worked as a caretaker for our feathered friends. He holds a Bachelor of Information Studies degree, majoring in Information Science from the University of Limpopo.

“I write storybooks for children as a hobby and enjoy designing e-Learning programmes for them. I love working with people and also in solitude. I take pressure as motivation for success,” he says.

Matete is currently constructing a website for the Brixton library. “I feel a website is a faster and convenient way to market the library to the public and it can be used to make announcements to users if needs be.”