The story of Drum magazine
In the beginning…
Drum was – almost – the first black man's magazine. It developed out of the wartime flexings of the intellectual spirit in South Africa which had brought forth a sturdy coterie of indigenous literary and political magazines.
Originally called The African Drum the magazine was started by the journalist and ex Springbok fast bowler, Bob Crisp. It was full of profound essays on the ethnic origins of the peoples of South Africa, appreciations of tribal customs and hand-painted crockery, and documentaries on primitivism in art. Not of great interest to the black population.
It was when Jim Bailey, an ex-RAF fighter pilot - "one of the few" - took over the magazine in 1951 that Drum found its feet. He altered the image of the magazine to reflect urban black life and the aspirations of the people and renamed it simply Drum. It contained a racy mix of sport, politics, Township Jazz, crime, scandal, gossip, devastating exposés – all brilliantly handled by a genius crew of writers, writers such as Henry Nxumalo, Can Themba, Todd Matshikiza, Casey Motsisi, Zeke Mphahlele, Bloke Modisane, Arthur Maimane, Gwigwi Mwerbi and Nat Nakasa - all of whom have become legends.