About the prize
An annual prize awarded by the journal African Studies.
The Vilakazi Prize is dedicated to the memory and intellectual achievements of BW Vilakazi, and 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.
Amongst his published works are: Amel’ezulu (1945), Inkondlo kaZulu (1935), Nje Nempela (1943), Noma Nini (1935), Dingiswayo kaJobe (1939, Dingiswayo son of Jobe, a biography). His MA thesis ‘The Conception and Development of Poetry in Zulu’ (University of the Witwatersrand, 1938) and his DLitt thesis ‘The Oral and Written Literature in Nguni’ (University of the Witwatersrand, 1946) contain valuable assessments of Zulu literature. His poetry was published in the Wits Press, Bantu Treasury Series, and he contributed to Bantu Studies, which is now the Wits journal African Studies.
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 R10,000. 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 article must be published in any one full volume set of issues (numbers 1 to 3).
- The author or authors must be previously unpublished in African Studies.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 author/s of the article may currently: hold a teaching or research position at a university, or any research institution or other higher education institution, or non-governmental institution and must be within five years of his or her first appointment to any such position; or be an independent researcher/scholar at the earliest stage of their research career.
- The nominated article should be directly concerned with the subject area of African Studies.
- A judging panel, consisting of two working editors, two members of the editorial board and one other member with suitable expertise and experience, will select the articles.
The prize will be announced in African Studies of the succeeding year.
Vilakazi Prize Winners
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