Drum magazine

Mr Drum

Henry Nxumalo as"Mr Drum" Photo: Jurgen Schadeberg

Henry Nxumalo was the first black writer for the magazine.

Jim Bailey wrote: "The Greeks had a theory that the first person to do anything was the best at it – Homer among poets, Herodotus among historians, Aeschylus among playwrights. I am sure that it is no skin off anyone's nose to say that Henry in his own way was unequalled. Journalism is a hard-drinking profession. If Henry by heavy drinking had dulled the fine edge of his wit, he more than compensated for this by sheer courage."

He was Mr Drum.

"Study the photograph above carefully – the first
person to recognise Mr Drum in each town he comes to
and approach him with a current issue of DRUM in his
hand, with the words: 'YOU ARE MR DRUM.
I CLAIM THE DRUM PRIZE!' will win £5.

Two of Henry's most courageous scoops were when he had himself hired as a farm labourer in Bethal to investigate the conditions and treatment of the working men; and when he got himself arrested and put in jail to experience those conditions and again the treatment metered out by the warders to the inmates. Bob Gosani, Henry's nephew, famously took photos with a telephoto lens from the roof of a nearby building. These stories set the pioneering tone of Drum.