What is Knowledge?

We present this work in honor of the 75th anniversary of the poet’s death.

Benedict Wallet Vilakazi
South African
1906 – 1947


Tell me friend,
What is knowledge?
I dress up nicely,
I carry a cane,
I get on the road,
I eat well?

Tell me my peer,
What is knowledge?
Is it going to school,
Reading the book
Until I am bald,
Turning over pages?

Tell me mother,
What is knowledge?
Is it to be a speaker,
Be applauded by the whole world,
Interpreting the laws
Without understanding?

Tell my father,
What is knowledge?
Come my boy,
Let me pull your ears:
“Talk a little
Do bigger.”

Translation by Gabi Mkhize

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