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Dr Benedict Wallet Vilakazi (Posthumous)

The Order of Ikhamanga in

Dr Benedict Wallet Vilakazi (Posthumous) Awarded for:
His exceptional contribution to the field of literature in indigenous languages and the preservation of Zulu culture.
Profile of Dr Benedict Wallet Vilakazi

Dr Benedict Wallet Vilakazi was born in Groutville, KwaZulu-Natal in 1906. His early schooling was at Groutville Primary School and he later qualified as an educator.

Dr Vilakazi had a consciousness about the Zulu people which found expression in his first published novel, Nje Ngempela, in 1944.

This was followed by a series of other publications both locally and abroad including: Inkondo kaZulu (poetry), Witwatersrand University Press (Johannesburg), 1935; Noma nini (novel), Published in Maridill, Natal, 1935; UDingiswayo Adobe (novel), Sheldon Press (London), 1939; Nje ngempela (novel), Marianhill Mission Press (Marianhill, Natal), 1944; Amal’eZulu (poetry), Witwatersrand University Press, 1945.

He  also  collaborated  in  putting  together  the  Zulu-English Dictionary (with CM Doke), Witwatersrand University Press, 1948. He pursued further studies which saw him ultimately earning a doctoral degree in literature (PhD) from the University of the Witwatersrand in 1946 and was also a prize winner of the International Institute of African Languages and Cultures. He also became a lecturer in the African Studies Faculty at Wits University.

His works inspired a generation of African writers like Professors Sibusiso Nyembezi, OT Nxumalo, and Mazisi Kunene and many other writers.

Dr BW Vilakazi Primary School in KwaDukuza, which is near his birthplace, is also named after him.