Koranteng's Drum Magazine 1969 political collage

Koranteng's Drum 1969 Political Collage

Koranteng has scanned pages and written some commentary on issues of Ghana’s Drum Magazine from 1969. You can read his excellent commentary and view some of the pictures at Koranteng’s Toli. You can also see a slideshow here of pages he has scanned. This is a lot of fun to view, for people who remember those times, and for younger people who are interested in their history.

1969 was an election year in Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah’s one-party regime had been overthrown and civilian rule loomed. But that was by the by – the magazine was typically focused on lighter issues. By way of background, Drum magazine is most known from its South African roots but it also had Ghanaian and Nigerian editions from the late sixties until the eighties. The equivalents would be Ebony, Jet or say Essence (alternatively think of Hello and Paris Match) ergo, none too weighty society papers. A good place to start then would be “Drum’s fabulous contest to find the prettiest mini-skirt (and its wearer) in Ghana.”

Koranteng gives an excellent rundown of events and cultural activities during that year. His mention of education touched a nerve:

The obligatory photo of African school-children in morning prayer raises the issue of church or state. The big question was “whether the churches should continue to manage schools with local, urban and city councils or should the management of all educational institutions come under a unified system to be directed by the Ministry of Education”. …

The public/private conundrum is very much in the news in today’s Ghana, private schools are all the rage, often funded by churches. The jury is still out as to their effectiveness and the question of standards; the Ministry of Education still has to reconcile unyielding demand for public education with limited resources; worse, everyone has an opinion. The easiest way to get any Ghanaian talking for a good hour is to broach the topic of education, we all wax eloquent about what is to be done.

The political collage at the top of this post is from his slideshow. More typical of the magazine might be the pretty girls on the covers, or the collage of advertising. But I tend to be a political history buff. Koranteng is a perceptive observer of social history, I recommend you read his commentary.