Original Research

Protest against social inequalities in B.W. Vilakazi’s poem 'Ngoba ... sewuthi' ('Because ... you now say')

N. Zondi, N. Canonici
Literator | Vol 26, No 1 | a220 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v26i1.220 | © 2005 N. Zondi, N. Canonici | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 July 2005 | Published: 31 July 2005

About the author(s)

N. Zondi, School of IsiZulu, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
N. Canonici, School of IsiZulu, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

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Abstract

Long before the National Party institutionalised apartheid in 1948, individuals and organisations tried to highlight the injustices of the colonial capitalist system in South Africa, but, as Lodge (1983:6) puts it, “it all ended in speeches”. This article seeks to demonstrate how Benedict Wallet Vilakazi effectively broke the silence by bringing the plight of the black masses to the attention of the world. He strongly protested against the enslavement of black labourers, especially in the gold and diamond mines, that he depicts as responsible for the human, psychological and physical destruction of the black working classes. As a self-appointed spokesperson of the oppressed, he protested against the injustices through the medium of his poetry. One of his grave concerns was the fact that black workers had been reduced to a class with no name, no rights, practically with no life and no soul. The chosen poem “Ngoba … sewuthi” (Because … you now say) is thus representative of the poems in which B.W Vilakazi externalised his commitment to the well-being of the black workers, and his protest against the insensitivity of white employers.

Keywords

Class Struggle; Miners Exploitation; Protest Literature; Zulu; Benedikt Wallet Vilakazi

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