Unknown Photographer
© BAHA, Drum Magazine

Dolly Rathebe, April 1957
Pigment print on acid-free photographic paper
Edition of 250

Image courtesy Aspire Art Auctions, South Africa
Drum magazine, founded by the son of financier Abe Bailey in 1951, modelled itself on the popular picture magazines so prevalent in that time, like Life and Picture Post. The magazine’s approach was based on the photo-essay, where photographs played a central role in the storytelling. Drum photographers and writers set a standard for picture magazines unparalleled in Africa.
“The objectified female body was at the centre of Drum’s discussion of modernity and the perceived gender and generational tumult of the Apartheid city,” opines Rachel Johnson in ‘The Girl About Town’: discussions of modernity and female youth in Drum magazine 1951- 1970 (2009).