ngoba ngimamatheka njalo
nom’ ungifik’ emgodini
zamatsh’ aluhlaz’ omhlaba
Yon’ engezwa nabuhlungu
Born in the same year of the Bambatha revolt against poll-taxes, BW’s full name was Bambatha Wallet Vilakazi, until the first name was changed to Benedict while he was a student at the Catholic Mariannhill mission in the 1920s. B.W.’s fist collection of poetry, Inkondlo kaZulu was published by Wits University Press in 1935 where he was Bantu Languages Assistant. It was the first book of Zulu poems to be published. Amal’eZulu was published ten years alter, also by Wits Press.
BW was the first African to receive a doctorate in literature. He chose to write in Zulu. He was distinguishd for his innovative use and adaptation of izibongo. He used symbols and images that were culture-specific yet modern. He was highly respected by his contemporaries such as HIE Dhlomo.