Vilakazi Prize | African Studies

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Vilakazi Prize

African Studies

About the prize

The Vilakazi Prize is dedicated to the memory and intellectual achievements of BW Vilakazi, in support of new and young scholars in African Studies.

Benedict Wallet Bambatha Vilakazi (1906-1947) is one of the great men of South African letters. He was born in Groutville, attended school there and at Marianhill, Durban and Ixopo. He received his BA degree from the University of South Africa in 1934 and his MA and DLitt degrees from the University of the Witwatersrand in 1937 and 1946. He taught at Wits in the Department of African Languages and collaborated with CM Doke on the first modern Zulu-English Dictionary, published after his death, in 1953.

Any early-career scholar, published in any one year of a full volume of African Studies, who meets the criteria set out below, will be considered for the Vilakazi Prize and a cash award of ZAR 10,000. African Studies reserves the right not to make an award if the judging panel considers that no nominated article is of sufficient merit to warrant the award. If no award is made the prize will be held over to the following year. Prize money will not accumulate.


  • The nominated article may be sole-authored or multi-authored. All authors must be at the earliest stage of their research and academic careers.
  • The author or authors must be previously unpublished in African Studies.
  • The article should be based on original research, or show evidence of original or innovative methodology or theorising. Review articles are excluded.
  • The nominated article should be directly concerned with the subject area of African Studies.

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