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Drum English

Drum English

Drum: 70th

In the 1950's, DRUM was a pioneer of black journalism bringing together courageous investigative journalism and cutting-edge photojournalism for Africa. But DRUM isn't just about history. South Africa has changed a lot in the last 50 years, and DRUM has kept pace with these changes. Today it is a thoroughly modern magazine in touch with its readers. Our recipe for success is simple but effective: we give our readers what they want.

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South Africa
Media 24 Ltd
Back issues only
R 19,60

in this issue

2 min
ed’s letter

Oh man, what a labour of love. Going through the DRUM archives to put this book together has been such a privilege. It was like looking at South Africa through the eyes of Henry Nxumalo and the Drum boys and the lenses of Alf Kumalo and every photographer whose picture has graced the pages of the magazine. It was seeing the lives lived by stars such as Nomsa Nene, Yvonne Chaka-Chaka, Miriam Makeba, Dolly Rathebe, John Kani, Connie Ferguson and even the pain of losing iconic celebrities like Brenda Fassie and Lebo Mathosa. It was watching visionaries such as Kaizer Motaung find their feet and make their dreams come true. It made us remember the pain and suffering of those who came before us, and how they refused to bow down and live in…

6 min
dear drum…

EVILS OF TSOTSISM I WOULD like to associate myself with those who wrote and blamed parents about the children who become tsotsis. I do not agree with many writers who say that homelessness is the cause, because I can say that many tsotsis are the sons of landlords. Just to stop these youngsters would help unite us Africans. I am also young and see that our parents fail to look after us and teach us that dagga, drinking and the cinema are really evils. Now it spreads to our young girls. Our modern location as far as I can see will be better through these committees which are anti-crime in our locations. Our elders cannot walk in the streets after 6 o’clock for fear of tsotsis. I think now the government will co-operate with…

8 min
the moments that shaped our world

WHAT a different world we lived in when DRUM was launched in 1951. There have been major events that changed our histories and fortunes since then – and we’ve been there to cover them all. 1950s The early years of the decade in which DRUM launched was an explosion of creativity. Music, fashion, sport and film stars were hot topics on the streets of Sophiatown, during Johannesburg’s anything can-happen Reef life. But the magazine was anything but a celebration of that life, and in its first year was pretty much a failure. It focused on tribal issues, chiefs and folktales, and then editor Bob Crisp was reluctant to shift direction. The magazine needed a drastic change. When Anthony Sampson took over as editor, with publisher Jim Bailey’s backing, the magazine transformed into the stuff…

7 min
living the dream

When it was first launched in 1951 nobody could predict how important it would become to South Africans. Few could know what a meaningful role it would play in showing the lives of black people – the good, the bad, the ugly and the great. Yet now nobody would argue that DRUM isn’t a special brand that has brought joy to the hundreds of millions who have read it over the years. And with every evolution in its long and celebrated history, it has remained true to the principles of celebrating black excellence and telling stories about ordinary people doing extraordinary things. The staff who worked on this beloved brand were as devoted to it as its audiences. Anthony Sampson, the editor credited with taking the publication to great heights, described it…

1 min
my life with drum

AS a young girl there were only a few magazines that spoke to me and that spoke about the reality that I lived in.DRUM was the sister In ever had. I am the only girl in a household filled with boys and that meant that at home I had no one to feed my teenage curiousity. When I was high school, I would read the magazine and think to myself, one day I’ll write for DRUM. One day I will be become a part of the legacy that has not only represented black culture but gave black people centre stage from the fashion to the magazine covers, inspirational stories and current affairs. I am grateful to the men and women who have worked for DRUM since the ’50s. If it wasn’t for them…

2 min
through his lens

HE captured some of the nation’s greatest icons and recorded momentous occasions in history. Nelson Mandela, Miriam Makeba and the iconic Women’s March in 1956 have all appeared in front of his lens. Photographer Jürgen Schadeberg had seen it all and had quite a tale to tell. He was born in Germany and moved to South Africa at the age of 19. He was already a photographer and in 1951 landed a job as chief photographer, picture editor and art director at DRUM. “In mid-1951 I heard about a magazine called the African Drum, which was looking for a photographer,” he said in his 2017 book, The Way I See It. “I was told that they had no money.” He was also told it would be an unsatisfactory position because the magazine was about…