The stunning image above, called Firefighter, Ashton Bay, March 2017 was submitted by South African photographer StevenTerblanche for the Wiki Loves Africa 2017 contest under the theme of People at Work. The image, depicting a courageous firefighter battling against a veld-fire at Ashton Bay, Jeffreys Bay, Eastern Cape Province, Republic of South Africa, was one of 17,874 images submitted by 2,435 photographers, the image has finally received the recognition it deserves. 

In December 2022, it was honored with 3rd place in the annual Wikimedia Commons Picture of the Year 2021. The image first received recognition on Commons being selected as a featured picture on Wikimedia Commons (Featured pictures) and is considered one of the finest images. See its nomination here.

A boy wearing a protective mask during the COVID-19 pandemic in Egypt
A boy wearing a protective mask during the COVID-19 pandemic in Egypt

Wiki Loves Africa image at 5th Place

A second Wiki Loves Africa image, submitted in the 2020 competition, was also in the final selection at number 5. This beautiful monochrome image shot by Egyptian photographer Eman arab is of a boy wearing a protective mask during the COVID-19 pandemic in Egypt. It was submitted to Wiki Loves Africa’s 2021 competition which focused on Health + Wellness.

Although none of the images selected for the Picture of the Year for 2021 made it into the final prize categories for Wiki Loves Africa in the year they were submitted, it shows the incredible quality of images from Africa that have been submitted to Wiki Loves Africa over the years.

Congratulations to all the winners of the Picture of the Year 2021 contest, but we are especially excited for StevenTerblanche and Eman arab!!

Competitive international quality photography

As the Wiki Loves Africa team, we are excited by this additional recognition for Africa’s photographers who are more than capable of competing on the international stage!

These wins beautifully present that there is life for many of the images, beyond the competition. The images submitted to Wiki Loves Africa are not only part of a competition – they become part of the Wikimedia Commons repository. They are important as images in their own right, but also essential as a way of illustrating key concepts in articles across the Wikimedia world and beyond.

Over the last 8 years, there have been nearly 89,000 images submitted to the Wiki Loves Africa contests by 10,380 photographers. These images are added directly to Wikipedia’s image bank under a free licence. Around 12,330 of these images have been used to illustrate articles on the Wikimedia projects. By being used to illustrate Wikipedia articles, these Wiki Loves Africa images have been collectively viewed 1.15 billion times since Jan 2017.