Tony Lankester

Ooops … Weekender makes wrong results call

Possibly the most famous newspaper headline blunder was made by the Chicago Tribune of November 3 1948, which bannered “Dewey Defeats Truman”. When the decision to print the paper was made, returns from the US election were coming in very slowly and time was running out before the deadline for the edition. The Tribune staff,…

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Sanctimonious bigot gets my blood pressure up

(This piece first appeared on I’m usually pretty open-minded when it comes to reading or hearing the views of foreign journalists about South Africa. I enjoy hearing their perspectives, even if they are sometimes a bit naive and dewy-eyed. Occasionally I will get frustrated that they fail to see a broader picture or take…

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ANC Youth League declares war on cocks

(This post first appeared on Sometimes writing a blog entry is hard work. Occasionally, though, someone gives you material — an idea, a reference or image to work from — that is so rich, so ripe with possibility it makes you want to hurl yourself at the feet of the giver, weeping with gratitude….

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When music meets Microsoft ….

Some time back I heard of a group of people on the internet who were spending their time creating graphs of songs titles and lyrics and posting them online – in fact there was a whole song chart pool on Flickr that was collecting them all. As a closet geek with a passion for music,…

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What would Isabel do?

(This piece originally appeared on South African blogger Donn Edwards is being sued for libel by a timeshare company called Quality Vacation Club (QVC) after he wrote of his experience with the company. I have no axe to grind with the timeshare industry. But if they bend the rules and dupe people into buying…

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The internet buzz election — Britney pips Obama? Not quite …

(This post first appeared on my own blog, Every time you turn the television on these days you get more talking heads crunching numbers about the US Elections – whispering urgently about who is going to win which states and why. I’m feeling a little left out, so I thought I would do my…

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Sosaties and roosters: dipping a big toe into Potch

It is either slightly disconcerting or enormously flattering when you arrive at a hotel for the first time and the receptionist greets you by name. In the case of my arrival at the Rapid Waters Hotel (and I use all three of those words advisedly) 29km outside of Potchefstroom, it could only be the former….

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President Mbeki explained … by the US Congress

I don’t know if you saw this recently — but it’s an actual screen capture of President Mbeki’s diary, as published on government’s own website. I wish I was making it up, but I’m not: (Source: No, you nerd, the important thing here is not that he only scored a Google pagerank of 4/10…

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What do you mean you don’t ‘get’ South African politics?

What if we could represent South African politics visually? What if we could take a snapshot of M&G investigative reporter Stefaans Brümmer’s brain? Would it look like a plate of multicoloured spaghetti? A box of rubber bands? Or would it look like this …

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Much ado about … well, quite a lot actually

Spare a thought for the family of Andrew Olmsted. You may not know him, or even have heard of him, but you’re about to. This is what was posted on his blog site over the weekend: “This is an entry I would have preferred not to have published, but there are limits to what we…

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