For decades before and after African independence, the London weekly West Africa was a well-known source of news, analysis and comment on the region, especially the (former) British territories. Jonathan Derrick, who worked on the magazine's staff in the 1960s and again in its final years before closure in 2003, here studies the earlier history of West Africa through the story of its largely forgotten editor, Albert Cartwright, from the magazine's founding in 1917 to Cartwright's retirement in 1947. Before editing West Africa, Cartwright spent twenty years in South Africa, making the headlines in 1901 when, as editor of Cape Town's South African News during the Boer War, he was jailed for a year for a war crimes allegation against Lord Kitchener. Exploring Cartwright family papers and memories, Derrick reveals the complex nature of a man who, for three decades, ran a colonial magazine but was appreciated by Africans as someone who genuinely understood them. Derrick places the story of colonial-era West Africa, which would reach its greatest heights during the independence period, within the wider landscape of British periodicals dealing with Africa in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Jonathan Derrick is a freelance editor and scholar who for twenty years served on the editorial staff of West Africa magazine. He has published several scholarly articles on African history and, with Ralph Austen, is the co-author of Middlemen of the Cameroons River: The Duala and Their Hinterland, c.1600--c.1960.