Dr. Benedict Wallet Vilakazi

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Date of birth: 
06- January-1906
Location of birth: 
Groutville, Natal
Date of death: 
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Dr Benedict Wallet Vilakazi was born on 6 January 1906 in Groutville, Natal. Vilakazi was appointed bantu languages assistant at the University of Witwatersrand in 1935 and was capped in March last year. He held the BA degree of the University of South Africa and was a prize winner of the International Institute of African Languages and Cultures. He was a distinguished Zulu poet and wrote the first book of Zulu poems to be published. Some of the poems were traditional "praise-songs". Vilakazi became the first African in the Union to receive the degree of doctor of literature. He died on 26 October 1947 in Johannesburg.

If Death

Bury me where the grasses grow

Below the weeping willow trees

To let their branches shed upon me

Leaves of varied greens.

Then, as I lie there, I shall hear

The grasses sigh a soft behest:

" Sleep, beloved one, sleep and rest."

Bury me in a place like this:

Where those who scheme and give their tongues

To plots and anger, never can

Displace the earth that covers me

Nor ever keep me from my sleep.

If you who read these lines should chance

To find me, 0 then bury me

Where grasses whisper this behest:

 " Sleep, beloved one, sleep and rest."


• Vilakazi, Benedict Wallet, from the Dictionary of African Christian Biography, [online], Available at www.dacb.org [Accessed 08 September 2011]

Last updated : 04-Apr-2018

This article was produced by South African History Online on 17-Feb-2011

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