The story of Drum magazine

Sylvester's Resignation

This is the cover for October '57 that Jim Bailey ordered Can Themba to use to replace the one originally chosen by Sylvester and the team. Such editorial interference was not to be tolerated

Sylvester's side:
This was the problem, the most forsaken thing... before I left I had chosen the cover picture for the next issue, an absolute winner to my mind: it was of the woman who'd won that year's Wimbledon, an American, and her runner-up, also American. The winner was holding up the shield presented to her by the Queen and the runner-up was giving her a kiss on the cheek. And what was it Bailey had chosen to object to about that. More, why he had laid his hands on the picture, got it ripped out of the schedule before printing!

Why? What was so wrong with it, you might ask, and indeed why was it just right for our readers? Don't be slow... because Althea Gibson the winner was black, a glorious fulfilment for our readers. But why wrong for Bailey? Because Darlene Hard the runner-up was white!
From I Danced with Mrs Gandhi

The Nationalist Government's wrath regarding the many exposés that Drum highlighted forced the management to order editorial restraint.

Jim Bailey the proprietor's side:
"Sylvester, encouraged by [previous] heady successes, intimated to me that another major feature or so from him would topple the government. I thought ..... if anyone was going to be toppled it would be me and Sylvester. " 

Drum was a truly African magazine that became a vehicle for empowerment. At its height, it enjoyed a circulation throughout Africa of over 400,000.