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Journalism of Drum’s Heyday Remains cause for Celebration – 70 Years Later

Drum becomes an online-only magazine this month, almost 70 years after it was first launched as an African print publication. The magazine is now a celebrity-focused human interest magazine. But it played a very different role in the 1950s and 1960s, when it is widely considered to have created new possibilities for identity for black South Africans. It was also crucial to the development of South African literature. The magazine grew to be the largest circulation publication for black readers in South Africa, and expanded to include East and West African editions. Through their use of storytelling, personal narrative, local lingo and vivid scenes of everyday life, the Drum writers engaged in an ongoing construction of cosmopolitan identity for Johannesburg city dwellers.