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Memeburn’s 50+ prominent South African journalists on Twitter

The rapid uptake of Twitter by the general public is often ascribed to celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher, Lady Gaga, and Demi Moore. In South Africa, with the most followed users being mainly celebrities, the situation is similar.

Though this may be true, less recognised, however, is the role the media has played in publicising Twitter. From the New York Times’ Nick Kristof to CNN’s Anderson Cooper, journalists have taken to Twitter with a gusto.

South African journalists have done the same right along with their international counterparts.

Whether it’s been traditional South African media publications looking to Twitter for a gauge of what South Africa’s general sentiment on a given topic is — a questionable practice at best in the South African context — or with national debates being sparked off on Twitter, the social network, as in almost every other nation, has gained an incredible influence in the media.

Equally so, even if they aren’t the most followed users on Twitter, journalists have gained immense influence and prominence on Twitter.

For this reason, we at Memeburn decided to compile what we believe is a list of the 50 most prominent and influential South African journalists on Twitter. Some of them may already have reached the heights of South Africa’s media industry, while others are still climbing that ladder, but all of them are igniting some of the most important conversations shaping South Africa’s future in bursts of 140 characters or less.

The 10 listed first — not necessarily the top 10 — comprises those journalists in print, television, and other forms of media who not only shape the conversation on Twitter, but in the real world through their publishing or managing some of SA’s top media titles, or influence wielded through television and radio.

  1. Name: Ferial Haffajee
    Platform: City Press
    Factoid: One of South Africa’s leading media practitioners, was previously editor of the Mail & Guardian and a Memeburn contributor in its early days.

  2. Name: Nic Dawes
    Platform: Mail & Guardian
    Factoid: Before taking over the M&G editorship in 2009, had started out as an investigative and political reporter (read Dawes’ interview with Memeburn here).

  3. Name: Vanessa Raphaely
    Platform: Associated Magazines
    Factoid: Recently stepped down as editor of Cosmopolitan SA (read Raphaely’s Q&A on blogging, fashion, and 21st century media with Memeburn here)

  4. Name: Redi Tlhabi
    Platform: Talk Radio 702, 567 Cape Talk and a TV show
    Factoid: Probably the most influential radio journalist around today.

  5. Name: Ray Hartley
    Platform: Sunday Times
    Factoid: Has tweeted considerably less these days since becoming editor of the Sunday Times, but one of the early, early adopters.

  6. Name: Yusuf Abramjee
    Platform: Primedia
    Factoid: Immensely influential in South African media through his roles as head of News at Primedia Broadcasting and the chairman of the National Press Club
  7. Name: Phylicia Oppelt
    Platform: The Times
    Factoid:Won the 1st for Women Insurance Brokers Women in The Media Award for her editorship of The Times
  8. Name: Peter Bruce
    Platform: Business Day
    Factoid: Is also a prodigious blogger.

  9. Name: Janine Jellars
    Platform: Seventeen Magezine
    Factoid: Her first issue as the new editor of Seventeen magazine recently hit news stands
  10. Name: James Myburgh
    Platform: PolitcsWeb
    Factoid: Holds a DPhil in Politics from St Antony’s at Oxford
  11. Name: Branko Brkic
    Platform: Daily Maverick and iMaverick
    Factoid:Serbian-South African

  12. Name: Aki Anastasiou
    Platform: Talk Radio 702
    Factoid: Was the first to bring “Pigspotter” into South African and global prominence after writing about him

  13. Name: Jannie Momberg
    Platform: News24
    Factoid: With News24 always topping the lists of most popular websites in SA, its editor Momberg wields immense power in SA’s online news world

  14. Name: Sam Mkokeli
    Platform: Business Day
    Factoid: Only opened his account in January, a (fast learning) “Twitter chick”

  15. Name: Brendan Boyle
    Platform: Daily Dispatch
    Factoid:Previously the Parliamentary Bureau Chief of Avusa Media

  16. Name: Carien Du Plessis
    Platform: iMaverick and Daily Maverick
    Factoid: Has been rumoured to go to press briefings just for the snacks

  17. Name: Charl Blignaut
    Platform: Freelance
    Factoid: Pop culture for this pop culture critic is a lot more than Britney Spears

  18. Name: “Dorothy Black”
    Platform: Women24
    Factoid: Her real name is a closely guarded secret, known only to a select few

  19. Name: Gill Moodie
    Platform: Freelance
    Factoid: Recently moved to Cape Town and quit smoking

  20. Name: Gabi Ndebele
    Platform: City Press
    Factoid: Her many well thought-out opinions extend beyond her beat

  21. Name: Gus Silber
    Platform: Freelance
    Factoid: Creator of the very popular South African version of the “Hitler meme”

  22. Name: Hilton Tarrant
    Platform: MoneyWeb
    Factoid: Was awarded the 2006 Telkom ICT Journalist of the Year award for the online category and also writes for Memeburn

  23. Name: Ivo Vegter
    Name: Ivo Vegter
    Platform: Freelance
    Factoid: Big, really big, believer in free market economics

  24. Name: Jason Von Berg
    Platform: dstv.com
    Factoid: One of the first multimedia journalists in SA

  25. Name: Karyn Maughan
    Name: Karyn Maughan
    Platform: eTV
    Factoid: Reliably live-tweets from press-conferences and court cases

  26. Name: Kevin McCallum
    Platform: The Star
    Factoid: SA’s (unofficial) Chief Sports Livetweeter

  27. Name: Kgomosto Matsunyane
    Platform: Multimedia
    Factoid: Studied politics in the US

  28. Name: Khadija Patel
    Platform: iMaverick and Daily Maverick
    Factoid: An excellent Twitter-curator, separating truth from rumour, on breaking news from the Middle East

  29. Name: Lerato Tshabalala
    Platform: Sunday Times LifeStyle
    Factoid: Celebrated for giving a voice to the young urban black woman in her very entertaining fortnightly column in Sunday Times

  30. Name: Lester Kiewit
    Platform: eTV
    Factoid: Will often tweet pictures and updates of his reports as he compiles them, giving an early taste of the evening news

  31. Name: Lihle Z Mtshali
    Platform: Sunday Times
    Factoid: Will drive you mad with jealousy as she regales you with stories of life in the glamourous Big Apple

  32. Name: Lindo Xulu
    Platform: Financial Mail
    Factoid: Writes and tweets about the news that isn’t on the front page of your newspaper, but should be

  33. Name: Simon Dingle
    Platform: Finweek Magazine and Brainstorm
    Factoid: Initially started out in the broadcasting industry

  34. Name: Mandy Wiener
    Platform: Eyewitness News
    Factoid: Tweets from many press conferences, and introduced central character in the Brett Kebble affair, Glen Agliotti, to Twitter

  35. Name: Matthew Du Plessis
    Platform: Mail & Guardian and a column for Cosmoplitan SA
    Factoid: Writes some of the strangest most original columns

  36. Name: Michelle Solomon
    Platform: Freelance
    Factoid: A name to remember, as Business Day editor Peter Bruce wrote

  37. Name: Nadia Neophytou
    Platform: Freelance
    Factoid: Best known for her work as an Entertainment Reporter for Eyewitness News and also contributes to Memeburn from New York

  38. Name: Nickolaus Bauer
    Platform: Mail & Guardian and SAfm
    Factoid: Also moonlights reporting on the goings on in SA Twitter for the Mail & Guardian

  39. Name: Osiame Molefe
    Platform: Daily Maverick and iMaverick
    Factoid: A qualified chartered accountant

  40. Name: Samantha Perry
    Platform: ITWeb and Brainstorm Magazine
    Factoid: Shares a wide range of content from across the web

  41. Name: Simon Williamson
    Platform: iMaverick and Daily Maverick
    Factoid: South African journo, who was based in Hong Kong, and has recently moved to New York

  42. Name: Sipho Hlongwane
    Platform: iMaverick, Daily Maverick, and columns for Cosmpolitan SA, 2oceansvibe and The Big Issue
    Factoid: Crossed swords keyboards with the ANC Youth League

  43. Name: Stephen Grootes
    Platform: Eyewitness news, Daily Maverick, and iMaverick
    Factoid: Often is the one who comes up with the hashtags used by South Africans when tweeting about news

  44. Name: Tecla Ciofli
    Platform: YourLMG Magazine
    Factoid: Her blog was a finalist in the best music blog category in the 2010 SA Blog Awards

  45. Name: Verashni Pillay
    Platform: Mail & Guardian Online
    Factoid: Been known to stir the right kind of controversy

  46. Name: John Robbie
    Platform: Talk Radio 702
    Factoid: Started out life as a professional rugby player, going on to represent the British and Irish Lions

  47. Name: Phillip de Wet
    Platform: iMaverick and Daily Maverick
    Factoid: The Daily Maverick’s “live-tweeting specialist” according to his profile on BizCommunity

  48. Name: Siki Mgabadeli
    Platform: SAFM
    Factoid: Primarily a financial journalist was a senior business news anchor at CNBC Africa

  49. Name: Toby Shapshak
    Platform: Stuff Magazine
    Factoid: Has covered politics, sport and technology, run online papers and edited a men’s mag

  50. Name: Chris Roper
    Platform: Mail & Guardian online
    Factoid: On top of his duties as the M&G online editor, also has a very entertaining website, with the tagline “stupidity is its own reward”

  51. Name: Duncan McLeod
    Platform: TechCentral
    Factoid: Was associate editor at the Financial Mail before founding TechCentral in 2009

  52. Name: Roger Hislop
    Platform: Gearburn and freelance
    Factoid: Contributing editor for Memeburn’s gadget sister site

  53. Name: Mandy de Waal
    Platform: iMaverick and Daily Maverick
    Factoid: Also edits a “bitchin” online business magazine

  54. Name: Nechama Brodie
    Platform: Freelance
    Factoid: Not only does she write, she sings and plays guitar, and is a boxer

Author | Mvelase Peppetta

Mvelase Peppetta
Mvelase is a Senior Account Manager at Irvine Bartlett one of the most sought after full service public relations companies in South Africa. Mvelase is passionate about all things digital and the social media landscape, particularly as it relates to the integration of digital public relations management within the traditional... More
  • I would add Serena Chaudhry to that list. South African Reuters journalist reporting from Iraq. (@serenac13) http://twitter.com/#!/serenac13

  • What about guys like @gevaaalikdotcom:twitter and @watkykjy:twitter . Both have blog and is also journo’s. Just for a different crowd. Both have blogs that inform loads of people out there?

  • Wayne Sussman

    What about non-English speaking journalists? This list is very Jozi-centric

  • Wow! No Simon Dingle? Absolutely crazy.

  • Whoah! You’re 100% correct on that one. Glaring omission on my part. Adding him right now. Thanks.

  • Well, there’re more than a couple of journos who aren’t 1st language English speakers on this list, if that’s what you mean. 

    If not, the fact that a) ZATwitter and b) SA media are both primarily english it makes it very difficult to find “prominent” non-English speaking South African journalists on Twitter. And I don’t think it’s that Jozi-centric, there’re more than a number of SA journos based outside of Joburg & even overseas featured. Thanks for the comment though.

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  • What about Reuben Goldberg? Ndumiso Ngcobo? Ashraf Garda? Have you seen this list? https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Al8Dqb9lMUk2dEdPaHBkT3VNcVFFNGV6aDI2LWpnLWc&hl=en_US#gid=0

  • Good list, but what about Adriaan Basson?

  • brave.  and nice work.  i understand lists like this are far-king hard and you will never please everyone, but I doth protest:
    – March Ashton @zamarcashton:disqus  should be here (newly minted editor fo FinWeek)
    – Duncan and Simon should most certainly be in your top 20 or at least *much* higher up.  their influence is considerably more than many above them (I know you say it isnt in order of influence, but these lists always are Im afraid)
    – Kojo Baffoe is editor of Destiny Man, on publication that has *growing* numbers (as I understand it) with a very influential demographic
    – Gus Silber’s influence on SA has been massive too, so surprised at his low number
    – Chris Roper and Philip de Wet so low is also very, very strange

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