“Dear Dolly's” Advice

Kenda Mutongi

in Love in Africa

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780226113524
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226113555 | DOI:
“Dear Dolly's” Advice

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This chapter examines the popular English-language magazine Drum to reveal how during the 1960s and 1970s young people across much of Africa wrote to its “Dear Dolly” advice column to air grievances and gain counsel about heterosexual and homosexual intimacy. Drum is one of the most popular magazines in Anglophone Africa in the 1960s and 1970s. Premarital sex was one of the main problems the two Dollys discussed with youth in heterosexual relationships. Gender was very crucial to the ways in which questions and answers about heterosexual courtship were generated, framed, and conveyed. Drum's “Dear Dolly” column featured more sensationalistic and sexually explicit discussions of intimacy. It indexes some of the intimate issues with which young people grappled during the 1960s and 1970s. The letters, and especially the responses, demonstrate how gender and sexual orientation informed courtship language.

Keywords: Drum; Dear Dolly; heterosexual intimacy; homosexual intimacy; gender; courtship; Anglophone Africa

Chapter.  10722 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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