Dr Benedict Wallet Vilakazi
1906 - 1947

Dr Benedict Wallet Vilakazi, the first African in the Union to receive the degree of doctor of literature, was born on the 1st of January 1906. Dr 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". 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."