The story of Drum magazine

The Sports Story

May 1955 cover of the issue that exposed the sports scandal.  Cover image: Jurgen Schadeberg

May 1955 cover of the issue that exposed the sports scandal.  Cover image: Jurgen Schadeberg

Jim Bailey, the owner, wrote in The Beat of the Drum that Sylvester "had an outstanding nose for news. His first major feature emphasized that there were rules to the Olympic Games which disqualified national teams that had been selected not on merit but on the score of race or creed. It was only after this Drum article that the black sports bodies in South Africa woke up to their opportunities."

A special DRUM enquiry shows that South Africa has no right to ban non-whites from Olympic teams. And now sporting bodies with no colour bar will try to "break the Olympic ring" by applying for membership to the world Olympic committee, which holds its next meeting in Paris in June… 

Nobody would like to see South Africa banned from the games because of her colour policy. What all true sportsmen would like to see is that the opportunity of entering the games should be opened to non-whites.

The International Olympic Committee were finally persuaded to withdraw their invitation to South Africa in 1964 and in 1970 South Africa was formally expelled.

The boycott ended on the release of Nelson Mandela and the end of Apartheid rule in 1990.