'Live fast, die young and have a good-looking corpse' - such was the creed of the young blacks of honky-tonk Sophiatown and District Six during the 1950s. Drum, an illustrated magazine written by a group of legendary black writers, was the microcosm of this world. Surveying the townships - the gangsters, jazzmen, beauty queens, folk heroes and illegal dagga dens - in highly charged prose, these writers also exposed the bloody realities of apartheid while charting the growing resistance movement. In Drum and in the lives of these men, Nicol records the reality and dichotomy of living in township South Africa - the hopes, the fears, the dreams and defiance of a vibrant, laughing, deadly world.
‘Saturated with the vitality of its times, Nicol’s account hands history back to those who were there to create it. Here is an overwhelming feeling of life being defiantly celebrated… Nicol remains true to the spirit’ – City Limits
‘A Good-Looking Corpse … examines the Drum phenomenon with intelligence, insight and wit: a fitting tribute to a remarkable magazine – The Guardian
‘Nicol’s book works both as a testament to these writings and as a vibrant history that gives a valuable perspective on the effects of apartheid’ – Good Book Guide