publications - non-fiction

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Corvo, 2003
Originally published by Mayabuye 1999
With a forward by Anthony Sampson
Now also available as an ebook

Who Killed Mr Drum?

Who Killed Mr Drum?

'Part biography, part murder-mystery, with gems about Nelson Mandela, Joe Slovo and other lions of the apartheid era, this book is about the author's time as editor of the legendary and irreverent township magazine, Drum , and the untimely deaths of the talented black journalists who wrote for it.  Both funny and poignant, it is as much about the comedy of apartheid in the 1950s (the illegal liquor, the jazz clubs, the absurdities of the pass system) as the tragedy.  Includes beautiful, evocative photographs by former Drum photographers, Jürgen Schadeberg and Bob Gosani. 

'They died long ago and far too early, yet with a fine kind of irony that would have appealed to them, they are more alive today than those who killed them.'

A taste of the critics

'One of the liveliest books about the pre-Mandela era - a very enjoyable read.' Doris Lessing
'One of the strongest beginnings of any book I've read. When I read this chilling introduction it just brings back to me what happened with the death of Steve Biko.' Donald Woods
'It's a literary gem.' Ryan Fortune, Cape Times
'If you are exhausted and need a good night's sleep you should not pick up Who Killed Mr Drum? on getting into bed. .... you will not be able to put it down.' Cape Times

More information

'At the end of the 1990s I started stewing up a book about my old Drum staff when I learned of the death of another of my old pals from back in the 1950s, Bloke Modisane . I myself was still in the land of the living, the oldest of the whole gang, now entering my 80s, so I regarded his death as very untimely. Looking at the whole lot of them as a fateful sample of the black population, with its tragically low mortality rate, and what with the deaths when very young of Nat Nakasa, Casey Motsisi, Bob Gosani and others.'