kaffir, noun and & adjective

Forms:
cafar, cafferShow more Also with initial capital, and (formerly) cafar, caffer, caffir, caffre, caffree, cafir, cafre, kaffer, kaffre, kaffree, kafir, kafre.
Origin:
Arabic, Dutch, AfrikaansShow more Adaptation of Arabic kafir infidel. The form kaffer is influenced by Dutch (and subsequently Afrikaans).
offensive in all senses and combinations
A. noun
1. Obsolete except in historical contexts Usually with initial capital.
a. A black African inhabitant of the region now covered by KwaZulu-Natal and the north-eastern parts of the Eastern Cape, i.e. a member of any of the Nguni groups which in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries became consolidated into the Xhosa and Zulu peoples.
1589 R. Hakluyt Voy. II. 242The Captaine of this castle (sc. Mozambique) hath certaine voyages to this Cafraria..to..trade with the Cafars.
1731 G. Medley tr. of P. Kolben’s Present State of Cape of G.H. I. 28The Caffres, who inhabit the Monomotapa, tho’ encompas’d in a Manner by the Hottentot Nations, are a very different kind of People.
1860 W. Shaw Story of my Mission 298I must..in this sketch employ the term ‘Kaffir’ as applying in a generic sense to the whole of the nations living along the line of coast.
1949 H.E. Hockly Story of Brit. Settlers of 1820 9The most formidable native tribes to oppose the onward march of the Europeans were..the Kaffirs, a branch of the mighty Bantu race which was slowly advancing southwards down the eastern side of Africa.
b. Xhosa noun sense 1 a.
1776 F. Masson in Phil. Trans. of Royal Soc. LXVI. 197We were now on the borders of a powerful nation of Hottentots called Caffers.
1790 W. Paterson Narr. of Four Journeys 70The great nation of Caffres, which is about nine hundred miles to the south-east.
1799 H.W. Ballot in G.M. Theal Rec. of Cape Col. (1898) II. 370It was properly the man who has to deal with you, namely Van Jaarsveld, whose true purpose was to convey the Landdrost to the Caffer Country.
1801 H.C.D. Maynier in G.M. Theal Rec. of Cape Col. (1899) IV. 61On what terms are we with Gyka and the Caffres on the other side the Great Vis River?
1804 R. Percival Acct of Cape of G.H. 46To the east a view is opened of the more distant Caffree country whose mountains..of a bright copper colour close the sublime prospect.
1804 R. Renshaw Voy. to Cape of G.H. 18The eastern district of the colony..is inhabited by a singular race of people called Kaffres.
1812 A. Plumptre tr. of H. Lichtenstein’s Trav. in Sn Afr. I. 309The tribe..call themselves Koosas, or Kaussas...These people are exceedingly offended at being called Caffres.
1822 W.J. Burchell Trav. I. 64The word Caffre, or Kaffer, is generally, at the Cape, applied exclusively to the tribe inhabiting the country beyond the eastern boundary of the colony.
1824 W.J. Burchell Trav. II. 530In distinguishing those African tribes which inhabit the country immediately adjoining the eastern boundary of the Cape Colony, as the Caffres proper, I merely comply with the common custom of the Colonists.
1827 T. Philipps Scenes & Occurrences 208The Caffers and Tambookies were very much pleased at my calling them by their true titles...The name of the former is Kosa, plural Amakosa,..the latter is Tymba, plural Amatymba.
1834 J.C. Chase in A. Steedman Wanderings (1835) II. 196The first great political division of the interior, next to the Colonial limits, is that under the Amakosae tribes, or Caffers Proper, bounded from the Colony by the Keiskamma River on the west.
1840 Echo 8 June 2The progress of civilization among the Caffers and other tribes beyond the boundaries.
1841 B. Shaw Memorials 36The Kaffirs are a numerous race of men inhabiting that tract of country situated on the South-Eastern coast of South Africa. This appellation..is applied by the Dutch and English colonists to the Amakosae tribe exclusively; but by Barrow, Thompson, and other travellers, it is extended to the Tambookies and neighbouring hordes.
a1864 L. Grout Zulu-Land 60The numerous tribes which occupy this broad section of southern and central Africa..all spring from a common stock...For this group no name has yet been definitely adopted by the learned. Some would call it the Kafir..but custom at the present day limits that term to a small district on the east coast between Natal and the Cape Colony.
1871 J. McKay Reminisc. 204It was native against native — Fingoe against Kafir.
1892 J.E. Ritchie Brighter S. Afr. 63The men looked happy; they are of all races, Kaffirs being held to be the best if only they would work...There was also a large number of Basutos.
1948 H.V. Morton In Search of S. Afr. 171The Ciskei and the Transkei..stretches for hundred of miles north to the borders of Natal. This native territory..includes the tribal territories of the Xosas — the original Kaffirs — the Tembus and the Pondos.
1949 J. Mockford Golden Land 77The migration of many became a flight from the marauding impis of the Zulus until the Xosas, the Kafirs, clashed with the Whiteman in the eastern regions of the Cape.
c. Xhosa noun sense 1 b.
1836 R. Godlonton Introductory Remarks to Narr. of Irruption 4We distinctly saw the dark cloud gathering over the Kafir country, but with that exception there was abundant cause for congratulation and thankfulness.
1837 J.E. Alexander Narr. of Voy. I. 366The so-called Kaffirs are divided into three great nations: the Amakosas, or the people of a chief Kosa, extending from the Keiskamma to the Bashee; the Amatembies, or Tambookies, between the upper Kye and Umtata; and the Amapondas.., from the Umtata to the south of Port Natal.
1857 D. Livingstone Missionary Trav. 95The annual supply of rain is considerable, and the inhabitants (Caffres or Zulus), are tall, muscular and well made.
1896 M.A. Carey-Hobson At Home in Tvl 178I had heard so much about the yells and war cries of the natives that I really thought we were surrounded by Kaffirs or Zulus.
1972 Std Encycl. of Sn Afr. VI. 263In more recent history the ‘Zulus’ were distinguished from the ‘Kaffirs’. The word ‘cafres’..was applied to the people now known as the Xhosas, who are composed of several tribes or tribelets including the Mpondo (Pondos), the Mfengu (Fingos) and many others.
d. comb.
Kaffirland obs. exc. historical, any or all of the territories on the eastern seaboard of Southern Africa (to the east of the Great Fish River) inhabited by people of the Nguni group, particularly those parts inhabited by Xhosas.
1786 G. Forster tr. of A. Sparrman’s Voy. to Cape of G.H. II. 146These rivers..probably run all together through the country called Caffer-land.
1800 G. Yonge in G.M. Theal Rec. of Cape Col. (1898) III. 339One of the Missionaries lately come here has gone into Caffer-land, his name Vanderkemp.
a1823 J. Ewart Jrnl (1970) 48To the eastward of the Great Fish river..extends a fertile tract of country, broken into hill and dale and diversified with extensive woods of the finest forest trees..inhabited by a nation called Kaffers or Caffres, the country being called Caffraria or Kafferland.
1832 A. Smith in Donald & Kirby Peddie — Settlers’ Outpost 13Buttons and wire..are the staple articles for barter throughout all Cafferland.
1837 F. Owen Diary (1926) 89The word [for God] used in Caffre land..has been introduced here(sc. in Natal) by Europeans..as Uteeko.
1841 B. Shaw Memorials 223She was remarkably strong and healthy, but the hardships of the Kaffir-land Mission made..inroads upon her constitution.
1857 Cape Monthly Mag. II. Sept. 190Raising funds for the relief of the sufferers by famine in Kafirland.
1871 J. Mackenzie Ten Yrs N. of Orange River 518Kaffir-land, convulsed with internal feuds, poured its people into the Zuurveldt..from which they dislodged the Dutch.
1881 Daily Dispatch 29 Jan. (Suppl.) 1Great numbers of Boers are in Kafirland, leaving everything to the mercy of the rebels, and going to the Kafirs for protection.
1891 T.R. Beattie Pambaniso 58In a few days the whole of Kaffirland was ablaze with the torch of war.
1909 O.E.A. Schreiner Closer Union (1960) 35The hearts of a complex people will put on mourning..from the kraal in Kafirland to..the cities where men congregate.
1913 W.C. Scully Further Reminisc. 306The Natives..obtain liquor at this canteen, and return with it into Kaffirland.
1926 M. Nathan S. Afr. from Within 15A barrier against the irruption of Kaffir marauders, who inhabited what was comprehensively known as Kaffirland.
1931 F.H. Dutton tr. of T. Mofolo’s Chaka: Hist. Romance 2In Kafirland the snake is a well-recognized messenger bringing tidings from the dead to their descendants.
1948 H.E. Hockly Story of Brit. Settlers of 1820 9The main body of the Bantu migrants had not yet crossed the Fish River but had firmly established itself in the territory to the east of that river, covering a vast and undefined area generally referred to as Kaffirland.
1956 F.C. Metrowich Valiant but Once 96The patrol..saw a large body of Natives driving stolen cattle across the Kap River along the well-trodden route to Kaffirland.
2. A black person. a. Obsolete except in historical contexts. Any black inhabitant of South Africa. b. Derogatory and offensive. An insulting and contemptuous term for a black African, or occasionally for any black person. Also attributive.
Note:
Originally simply descriptive of an ethnic group, ‘kaffir’ is now insulting and abusive, and its use is actionable (see crimen injuria).
1607 W. Keeling in R. Raven-Hart Before Van Riebeeck (1967) 36Wee found many of the Saldanians alias Cafares at our landinge place to speake wth us although wee could not onderstand one an other.
1731 G. Medley tr. of P. Kolben’s Present State of Cape of G.H. I. 81The Caffres..are so far from bearing any affinity or resemblance with the Hottentots, that they are a quite different sort of people.
1798 B. Stout Narr. of Loss of Ship ‘Hercules’ 59We spoke at first to some Caffree women, who behaved kindly, and gave us one or two baskets of milk.
1822 W.J. Burchell Trav. I. 582To the Caffre Race belong the Bichuanas, and the Dammaras, together with the Kosas or Caffres Proper, the Tambookies, and probably all the tribes on the eastern side of the Continent, as far as Delagoa Bay.
1835 J.W.D. Moodie Ten Yrs in S. Afr. II. 65My companion had..got thoroughly perplexed among a multitude of old Kaffre tracks crossing each other at all angles, and leading anywhere — or nowhere.
1843 J.C. Chase Cape of G.H. 9All their orders relative to the aborigines, whether Hottentot, Bushman, or Kafir, breathe the spirit of kindess and conciliation.
1851 H. Ward Cape & Kaffirs 10Most of the associations connected in the mind of an European with the name of Kaffir, have been formed upon the represented bad character and conduct of the nation so called,..and are consequently highly unfavourable to any people bearing a name which, by common consent, attributes all the cunning faithlessness of the savage, with an admixture of many of the depravities of civilized life, to its bearer.
1855 J.W. Colenso Ten Weeks in Natal 8The conversation turned naturally upon the question of Kafir education, and I found that my two friends had very little confidence in the success of Missionary operations among the Zulus.
1860 A.W. Drayson Sporting Scenes 18‘Kaffir’ is..a term unknown to the men so called; they speak of themselves by the designation of the tribe.
1864 A Lady Life at Natal (1972) 22These Zulus..do appear to deserve their title as the gentlemen of the Kafir races.
1875 D. Leslie Among Zulus 63Cetchwayo is a stoutly built black Kaffir; and of him I shall have more to say anon.
1876 F. Boyle Savage Life 212The Kaffirs — they were Basutos —..suffered an overwhelming defeat.
a1878 J. Montgomery Reminisc. (1981) 105Mietjie was a civilised Kafir woman, and could speak Dutch and English fluently.
1882 C.L. Norris-Newman With Boers in Tvl 57It will not be surprising that they should make common cause against all Kaffirs, and..should regard the natives as an entirely inferior race, only fit for slavery.
1899 D.S.F.A. Phillips S. Afr. Recollections 125I do not mean to say..that I consider the English treatment of the Kaffir the right one either. They go too far in the other direction, and treat a kaffir as if he were a white man.
1902 G.M. Theal Beginning of S. Afr. Hist. 203The Mohammedan mixed breeds, living like Kaffirs and caring little whether they were one month or twelve on an expedition.
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 340Nigger, A term of contempt applied to people of coloured blood, and as a rule as vigorously resented by them as the designation Kaffir is sometimes resented by the natives.
1925 D. Kidd Essential Kafir p.vThe word Kafir is used in its broadest sense, so as to include all the dark-skinned tribes of South Africa, though the word has been used by others in the most varied connotations.
1936 Williams & May I Am Black 200Who are you to call me a kaffir? You are only a toad. If you call me that name again I will thrash you.
1941 A. Maqelepo in Bantu World 15 Feb. 5To be called a Kaffir or a Coloured is an insult to which we can never submit.
1941 J.A.B. Nti Sana in Bantu World 15 Mar. (Suppl.) 2This floor is known as the Kafir-mud-floor because only Native people can make it properly.
1950 D. Reed Somewhere S. of Suez 114The disdainful word ‘Kaffir’ is seldom used today;..to the Native [it] is a stigma and a reproach.
1952 P. Abrahams in Drum July 10I have heard illiterate Coloureds describing educated Africans as damn kaffirs. How do we cope with that?
1962 L.E. Neame Hist. of Apartheid 84Their concept of a Non-White person is that he is a ‘Kafir’, a ‘Native’, a ‘boy’, a ‘girl’, or a ‘maid’, a sub-human.
1966 J. Farrant Mashonaland Martyr p.xxxiPeter Paliso is described as a ‘Kaffir’, indicating that he came from Kaffraria. In those days the word did not cause offence, and was used in all innocence by the clergy and missionaries. Today, however, it..is seldom used except as a malicious, contemptuous epithet.
1968 Eng. Alive 63To call an African a ‘Kaffir’ is an insult in the worst taste and we can certainly not gauge the illfeeling and resentment this causes among those at whom these insults are directed.
1970 Daily Dispatch 6 Oct. 8The African was referred to in the usual manner employed by insecure, ethnocentric people of low mentality. In short, he was called a ‘Kaffir’.
1972 Evening Post 19 Aug. 8In those days of long ago, the word ‘Kaffir’ was permissible...It was spelt Caffre and denoted someone of the dark-skinned races.
1972 E. Prov. Herald 7 Nov. 1A Johannesburg Regional Court adjourned in uproar after a White man shouted ‘Kaffir’ at an African attorney who was questioning him and then refused to apologise.
1975 J. McClure Snake (1981) 56The Colonel had very nearly said ‘kaffir’, which was now an officially banned word.
1976 E. Prov. Herald 25 May 19The use of the word ‘kaffir’ when referring to an African in South Africa was sufficiently serious to constitute injuria.
1979 M. Matshoba Call Me Not a Man 197The word ‘kaffer’ had been declared an offence in law some time ago.
1987 Frontline May 27I myself was shouted at by a white man — ‘Move, kaffir!’ — a thing I have not come across for some time.
1989 Sunday Times 8 Oct. (Mag. Sect.) 8That persistently obnoxious word ‘kaffir’..is a loathsome word, which exemplifies the very worst attitudes, assumptions and practices of recent history.
1991 P. Hawthorne in Time 20 May 8‘President F.W. de Klerk,’ says Dirk, ‘has given our country to the blacks...Now kaffirs will tell us how to live our lives’.
1992 S. Ntshakala in Weekend Mercury 4 Jan. 6He rose up and repeatedly said..‘They think they now rule the world. Stupid kaffirs!’
1993 Weekly Mail & Guardian 29 Oct. 2He said black personnel were still called ‘kaffirs’ behind closed doors.
c. Figurative, and in idiomatic expressions, including:
kaffir appointment, an appointment for which one does not trouble to be punctual; cf. African time;
to go to the kaffirs, to deteriorate, ‘to go to the dogs’;
kaffer op sy plek /ˌkafər ɔp seɪ ˈplɛk/ [Afrikaans, ‘kaffir in his place’], an expression used to ridicule the racist attitude which demands white dominance over blacks, and which expects subservient behaviour from black people; also attributive;
to work like a kaffir, to work extremely hard, especially at manual labour.
1835 T.H. Bowker Journal. 25 Mar.I’m affraid they’ll have the Kafirs in England ere long — heavy taxes and light Meals will make a Kaffir of almost any man.
1951 R.B. Pitso in Afr. Drum Apr. 14Zwane will think that I am used to keeping kafir appointments.
1977 Fugard & Devenish Guest 51Those first few years, Doors and the two boys worked like kaffirs on the land.
1980 Sunday Times 9 Mar. 13We have men stomping the platteland spouting dangerous ‘kaffer-op-sy-plek’ politics!
1983 J. De Ridder Sad Laughter Mem. 23Hell, we worked like Kaffirs getting the place ready.
1984 Frontline Mar. 39The Afrikaner Nats, for whom a generation ago the policy of Kaffer op sy plek en Koelie uit die land summed up pretty well the entire philosophy.
1987 M. Poland Train to Doringbult 225‘Funny how I never really knew what that curfew implied when I was at school,’ said Elsa. ‘It only meant half an hour to lights-out.’ ‘Kaffirs-into-bed,’ said Jan wryly, remembering the schoolboy chant.
1990 Sunday Star 11 Mar. 14To most whites at that time it (sc. apartheid) was just a more of less respectable way of saying ‘kaffer op sy plek’.
1990 C. Leonard in Weekly Mail 2 Nov. 29The place was going to the kaffirs. It was in a bad condition, I tell you.
d. With distinguishing epithet:
mission kaffir, missionary kaffir obsolete, a black person taught by missionaries, or having been under their influence; a westernized black person; see also school adjective sense 1;
white kaffir, see as a main entry.
1875 D. Leslie Among Zulus 145Missionary Kaffirs’ have become a byword and a reproach, and are considered the greatest rascals in the colony.
1878 A. Aylward Tvl of Today 48The mission Kafirs, fearing the King, spread the most alarming reports concerning his intentions.
1882 C. Du Val With Show through Sn Afr. I. 158In nine opinions out of ten you will find colonists denouncing what they call missionary Kaffirs in no measured terms, and there must be some grounds for so sweeping an opinion.
1908 D. Blackburn Leaven 87Mr Hyslop suggested that a mission kafir having been taught to work more intelligently was surely worth more than a raw kafir.
e. combinations All obsolete or obsolescent because of their offensive nature. With the following meanings (which often overlap): i. Used among the black peoples of southern Africa. ii. Especially in the names of flora and fauna: indigenous, wild. iii. derogatory. Inferior, worthy of contempt.
kaffir almanac [see quotation 1913], either of two species of lily, Haemanthus katherinae or H. magnificus;
kaffir brandy, a potent liquor prepared for sale to black people; cf. kaffir whisky below;
kaffir buck, see quotation;
kaffir cabbage [see quotation 1966], the plant Cleome gynandra;
kaffir cat, the African wild cat Felis lybica of the Felidae, with a tawny, striped coat; also called wild cat (see wild sense b);
kaffir cattle, (a) historical, a breed of indigenous African cattle with distinctive horns and colouring; cf. Nguni noun sense 3; (b) derogatory, inferior cattle of mixed breed;
kaffir cherry, the plant Gardenia neuberia;
kaffir chestnut, wild chestnut (sense (a) see wild sense a);
kaffir coffee, the plant Phoenix reclinata of the Arecaceae;
kaffir-college derogatory, a segregated college for blacks under apartheid legislation; see also bush college (bush adjective1 sense 2);
kaffir cow, a cow of the type called kaffir cattle (see above);
kaffir crane, a former name for the mahem, Balearica regulorum;
kaffir date, kaffir plum (see below);
kaffir doctor, witchdoctor;
kaffir fair obsolete except in historical contexts; during the nineteenth century, a gathering to enable trade and barter between the colonists and the Xhosa; also attributive;
kaffir farming, a form of sub-tenancy outlawed in 1913, whereby white land-owners leased land to African squatters in return for labour (see also second quotation 1989);
kaffir fever Pathology, an unidentified febrile illness;
kaffir fig-tree, see quotation;
kaffir finch, kaffir fink [Englished forms of South African Dutch kaffervink], (a) bishop-bird; (b) sakabula;
kaffir fowl derogatory, a scraggy domestic fowl of indeterminate breed;
kaffir god, (a) Hottentot(s) god (offensive), see Hottentot noun sense 6 a; (b) a flower (the precise species is unclear); its fruit;
kaffir hen, kaffir fowl (see above);
kaffir hoe, a simple iron hoe;
||kaffirhond /-ˌhɔnt/ [Afrikaans hond dog], kaffir dog;
kaffir honeysuckle, the tecoma, Tecomaria capensis;
kaffir horse, Cape horse (see Cape sense 2 a);
kaffir hut, (a) a circular wattle-and-daub hut with a conical thatched roof (cf. rondavel), or any traditionally-constructed African dwelling; (b) the dome-shaped Eastern Cape succulent Euphorbia meloformis;
Kaffir Jack, an Eastern Cape name for the common hornbill;
kaffir lily, (a) the water-loving perennial herb Schizostylis coccinea of the Iridaceae, with narrow leaves and slender stalks bearing deep pink flowers; (b) the perennial forest plant Clivia miniata of the Amaryllidaceae, cultivated for its large, showy, orange flowers; (c) ifafa lily;
kaffir-lover derogatory, kaffirboetie;
kaffir-maid [Englished form of Afrikaans kaffermeid; cf. maid] derogatory, kaffermeid;
kaffirmanna, babala;
kaffir mealie, kaboe mealie;
kaffir melon, tsamma;
kaffir mushroom, ikhowe;
kaffir orange, klapper noun1 sense 1;
kaffir ox, an ox of the type called kaffir cattle (see above);
kaffir path, a rural footpath or track;
kaffir pear, wild pear sense (b), see wild sense a;
kaffir pick, a simple home-made pick;
kaffir pillow, a small wooden neck-rest, used while sleeping;
kaffir plum, the evergreen forest tree Harpephyllum caffrum, its edible fruit, or its reddish timber; also called wild plum (sense (a) see wild sense a); also attributive;
kaffir pock Pathology, see quotations;
kaffir poison, (a) Bushman’s poison; (b) Pathology, see quotation 1968;
kaffir police historical, any of several black police corps established during the nineteenth century (the first of which was founded in 1835);
kaffir pot, potjie;
kaffir potato, the Natal plant Coleus esculentus, and its edible tuber;
kaffir print, German print (see German);
kaffir rail, the bird Rallus caerulescens;
kaffir rope, monkey-rope;
kaffir scimitar, kaffir plum (see above);
kaffir sheep, any hardy cross-bred sheep;
kaffir slangwortel /-ˈslaŋvɔrtəl/, formerly also kaffir schlangenwortel [Afrikaans slangwortel (from Dutch schlangenwortel), slang snake + wortel root; see quotation 1860], the shrub Polygala serpentaria; its thick, woody root;
kaffir sorrel, the plant Pelargonium peltatum; also called pelargonium;
kaffir store, a rural trading store carrying a wide variety of inexpensive merchandise for a black clientele;
kaffir tax, hut tax;
kaffir taxi derogatory, (a) a motor vehicle used as a taxi by black people; (b) transferred sense, an old or run-down motor car or bus;
kaffir tea, (the dried leaves of) any of several plants used for brewing medicinal teas, especially (a) Helichrysum nudifolium and Athrixia phylicoides, but also (b) shrubs of the genus Aspalathus (see rooibos sense 1 a); the tea made from these plants; see also Bushman’s tea;
kaffir-thorn, the tree Lycium tetrandrum;
kaffir thread, animal sinew used as thread;
kaffir tobacco, dagga noun2 sense 1;
kaffir tou, monkey-rope;
kaffir trade, the sale of manufactured goods to black people, or barter with black people; latterly called African trade, black trade; also attributive; hence kaffir trader noun phrase, a merchant, often in remote districts, selling primarily to black people;
kaffir tree, kaffirboom;
kaffir truck derogatory historical, cheap (often inferior) merchandise intended for sale or barter to black people; also attributive;
Kaffir war, (a) Frontier war, see Frontier sense b; (b) rare, any war between blacks and whites (see quotation 1939);
kaffir watermelon, tsamma;
kaffir whisky, a type of liquor prepared for sale to black people; cf. kaffir brandy above;
kaffir work, kaffir’s work derogatory, an offensive term for manual labour, or for any task considered by some to be too menial for whites to perform.
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 240Kaffir almanac, So called in Natal, because the Zulus sow their mealies when this plant is in flower.
1967 E. Rosenthal Encycl. of Sn Afr. 278Kaffir Almanac, Bulbous Cape and Natal plant with a single red tulip-like flower and fleshy spotted stem rising from two prostrate leaves.
1978 Randlords & Rotgut (Junction Ave Theatre Co.) in S. Gray Theatre Two (1981) 116You and your Kaffir brandy are killing these people!
1983 Sunday Times 4 Sept. (Mag. Sect.) 2Kaffir Brandy..was prepared according to the following formula: ‘15 gal Delagoa proof spirit, 15 gal water, 1 gal cayenne pepper tincture, ½oz sulphuric acid and 1oz nitric acid.’
1937 W. De Kok tr. of E.N. Marais’s Soul of White Ant (1973) 104For the experiment I used a herd of sixty half-wild buck, known in South Africa as Kaffir Buck.
1966 C.A. Smith Common Names 267Kaffir cabbage, Cleome gynandra...The leaves and young shoots are cooked as a spinach by natives.
1988 A. Sher Middlepost 373Plants..casting a million different scents into the air...Traveller’s Joy,..Mouse Bush, Hare-bell, Grapple Thorn, Kaffir-cabbage.
1900 W.L. Sclater Mammals of S. Afr. I. 43The caffer cat is nocturnal, though sometimes seen in cloudy, cool weather, during day time.
1971 C.M. Van der Westhuizen in Std Encycl. of Sn Afr. III. 127The African wild cat or Kaffir cat..was probably the same species which was domesticated by the ancient Egyptians.
1833 Graham’s Town Jrnl 7 Mar. 3Whichever way you travel in Cafferland you meet with thousands of colonial cattle, and the offspring of colonial cattle; the breed of Caffer cattle in many places appears almost extinct.
1834 A. Smith Diary (1939) I. 83Three were taken out of a herd of Caffer cattle.
1896 R. Wallace Farming Indust. of Cape Col. 255The thick-horned Kaffir cattle..are broken in colour, and lack style and uniformity.
1914 E.N. Marais Rd to Waterberg (1972) 21The finest Kaffir cattle..were to be seen three years ago.
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 241Kaffir or Hottentot cherry, Maurocenia capensis. The name given to the fruit of this shrub.
1966 C.A. Smith Common Names 267Kaffir cherry, Gardenia neuberia.
1966 C.A. Smith Common Names 267Kaffir chestnut, Brabeium stellatifolium.
1827 T. Philipps Scenes & Occurrences 87A very beautiful shrub called the caffer coffee which bears a small berry resembling coffee.
1829 C. Rose Four Yrs in Sn Afr. 125The glossy palm-leaves of the Kaffer coffee.
1966 C.A. Smith Common Names 267Kaffir coffee, Tricalysia capensis.
1988 P. Wilhelm Healing Process 24‘Were you at Wits?’...‘I tried to get in,’ the black went on, ‘but the government wouldn’t allow it — so I went to a kaffir-college.’
1942 S. Cloete Hill of Doves 143As lean as a Kaffir cow.
1826 A.G. Bain Jrnls (1949) 93I shot one of those beautiful birds called by the Caffres Mahem and by the Colonists Caffre Crane.
1856 R.E.E. Wilmot Diary (1984) 133The ‘Kaffir’ or ‘Balearic crane’..gaudily dressed in his coat of blue and purple and his strange crest of grey bristles.
1899 R.B. & J.D.S. Woodward Natal Birds 174The Crowned, or Kaffir Crane, as it is sometimes called, appears to be the commonest species in Natal.
1923 Haagner & Ivy Sketches of S. Afr. Bird-Life 121The..‘Kaffir Crane’..is easy of recognition in its slate, white and black plumage, velvety black crown, ornamented by a large crest of pale-yellowish bristles, and the patches of naked red and white skin on the cheeks.
1963 O. Doughty Early Diamond Days 42Immense long feathers of the Kaffir Crane.
1961 Palmer & Pitman Trees of S. Afr. 288Kaffir date, Harpephyllum caffrum.
1972 Std Encycl. of Sn Afr. I. 267Kaffir plum,..The small, white flowers give rise to a deep red plum-like fruit, sometimes called Kaffir date.
1836 R. Godlonton Narr. of Irruption 219When an individual has had the misfortune to make him or herself obnoxious to a Kafir doctor..he is marked down as a future victim to this horrid custom.
1860 W. Shaw Story of my Mission 447Europeans..call them (sc. the amagqira) ‘the wise men,’ or ‘the Kaffir doctors,’ but neither of these designations is a translation of the names which the Kaffirs give to these persons.
1891 T.R. Beattie Pambaniso 17Sometimes a Kaffir doctor will make many guesses before he names the subject his visitors have come about.
1989 Informant, GrahamstownShe always sick sick, go to Kaffir doctor.
1827 T. Philipps Scenes & Occurrences (1960) 239I saw a return of the Caffre Fair today, the whole amount is valued at about two thousand pounds sterling! Most astonishing and wonderful! In less than 8 or 9 months, Elephants’ tusks, Hides, Gum and Curiosities.
1835 J.W.D. Moodie Ten Yrs in S. Afr. II. 246Our time not permitting us to remain to witness the Kaffre fair, after breakfast we continued our journey.
1957 H.E. Hockly Story of Brit. Settlers of 1820 109The ‘Kaffir fairs’ which for the past two and a half years had been conducted regularly three days a week at Fort Willshire.
1968 E.A. Walker Hist. of Sn Afr. 154Somerset still further relaxed the system of non-intercourse by permitting a Kaffir fair twice yearly at Grahamstown.
1923 G.H. Nicholls Bayete! 214A law has been passed to limit ‘Kaffir farming’.
1941 C.W. De Kiewiet Hist. of S. Afr. 82Many a landowner..obtained an important income from ‘Kafir farming’.
1989 Reader’s Digest Illust. Hist. of S. Afr. 332Kaffir-farming’ was outlawed in the 1913 Natives’ Land Act, which forbade more than five African families from living on each ‘white’ farm as peasant squatters.
1989 Reader’s Digest Illust. Hist. of S. Afr. 489Kaffir-farming, The letting of land to Africans; creation of pools of African labour on Transvaal farms in the late 19th century, which were made available to mine recruiting agencies for a large commission.
1828 W. Shaw Diary. 15 Mar.I have had a severe attack of the Caffre Fever, in consequence of taking cold when at the Cattle place.
1836 A.F. Gardiner Journey to Zoolu Country 194A large Kafir fig-tree (species of banian), growing near the ford of the Tugela.
a1827 D. Carmichael in W.J. Hooker Botanical Misc. (1831) II. 275A boor to whom I once gave some..small shot to kill a Caffre Finch (Emberiza longicauda) for me, returned..with a fine bird.
1827 T. Philipps Scenes & Occurrences 70Two very singular birds, the Caffer finch and mousebird..have two very beautiful marks on their wings...At the commencement of spring their tails begin to grow, and get to such a length as to appear to be an absolute incumbrance; but in the winter the feathers fall and they look like other birds.
1844 J. Backhouse Narr. of Visit 202The Caffer Finch of this part of the country is Ploceus spilonotus.
1836 A.F. Gardiner Journey to Zoolu Country 358The Kafir finch, a singular bird, about the size of a sparrow, having two long tail feathers, which it sheds during the winter; the plumage is very glossy black.
1850 J.E. Methley New Col. of Port Natal 29The cattle are teased with an insect called the ‘tick’..from which they are often relieved by a bird called the Kaffir finch.
1862 A Lady Life at Cape (1963) 107The two red and black Kafir-finches..will serve to brighten up her best bonnet.
1878 T.J. Lucas Camp Life & Sport 83The Kaffir finch, whose black and white plumage and red throat were set off by his long streaming tail, the feathers of which are so prolonged that they droop into a perfect arch, and when flying nearly overbalance him.
1888 Cape Punch 18 Apr. 30Hark! How de Kaffir-finches sing?
1900 H.A. Bryden Animals of Afr. 160One of the most beautiful of the many kinds of weaver birds in Africa is the splendid Red Kaffir Finch.
1940 Baumann & Bright Lost Republic 234The black kaffir-finch, with his long tail and his red breast...always has a lot of his drab little wives flying about with him for company.
1946 S. Cloete Afr. Portraits 80The Deriders..wore two plumes of Kaffir finch on the head pointing backwards.
1973 Brink & Hewitt ad. Aristophanes’s The Birds. 4You’re so cocky. What are you — a kaffir finch?
1983 J.A. Brown White Locusts 97A widow bird lifted from among the grasses its long black tail fluttering like a widow’s crepe...Father called it the ‘Kaffir finch’ and told her that before their defeat the warriors used to wear its plumes.
1822 W.J. Burchell Trav. I. 20In the aviary I saw..the Kaffers Fink.
1834 A. Smith Diary (1939) I. 168Caffer fink common along the streams.
1861 Lady Duff-Gordon Lett. from Cape (1925) 66Kaffir ‘finks’, which weave the pendant nests, are hardy and easily fed.
1867 E.L. Layard Birds of S. Afr. 185The Red Kaffir fink though not an uncommon bird is certainly a very local one.
1884 Layard & Sharpe Birds of S. Afr.I saw what I took to be a black silk neckerchief drifting down to us...I called the attention of my companion to it, when, with a laugh, he told me it was a male Kafir fink.
1897 H.A. Bryden Nature & Sport 93Pendant over the watercourses, or curiously fastened to the reeds, were the daintily-fashioned nests of weaver-birds. The handsome yellow Kaffir fink was one of the most striking of these weavers.
1902 H.J. Duckitt in M. Kuttel Quadrilles & Konfyt (1954) 12The boughs of the poplars were festooned with numberless artistically woven nests of the little orange and black finches called here ‘Kaffirfinks’.
1923 Haagner & Ivy Sketches of S. Afr. Bird-Life 118The Red Bishop-Bird or Kaffir-fink..is so destructive to the Kaffir corn and wheat crops that it has earned the undying enmity of the Barolong natives.
1956 F.C. Metrowich Valiant but Once 118A flock of scrawny Kafir fowls scratched optimistically in the dust.
1896 H.L. Tangye In New S. Afr. 269Looking at my feet, one day, I see a large specimen of the ‘Praying Mantis,’ vulgarly called the ‘Kaffir God.’
1903 Cape Times (Weekly) 11 Mar. (Pettman)It graphically pictured the tawny Kaffir gods rising on slender stems, with soft, rich petals flaming in the long grass.
1937 C.R. Prance Tante Rebella’s Saga 179Gysbertus, lanky and scraggy as a Kafir hen.
1871 J. McKay Reminisc. 272An article..as useful to the colony, if not more so, than the plough..instead of the Kafir hoe or pick.
1886 M.E. Barber Erythrina Tree (1898) 2‘Pick,’ Kaffir hoe.
1912 Ayliff & Whiteside Hist. of Abambo 80The old Kaffir hoe is never used except for cleaning crops from weeds, and breaking up ground that is either too steep or too stony to admit of a plough being used.
1914 S.P. Hyatt Old Transport Rd 59In the store itself..the Kaffir hoes were in a heap by the door.
1969 A. Fugard Boesman & Lena 24Must have been a Kaffer hond. He didn’t bark.
1974 B. Simon Joburg, Sis! 107Helena didn’t have no choice of how to come home but past the dogs. You should see them, Boerbuls, Mastiffs, Kaffirhonde.
1955 J.B. Shephard Land of Tikoloshe 37He flung his stick, neatly decapitating a red kaffir honeysuckle a few yards away.
1966 C.A. Smith Common Names 268Kaffir honeysuckle, Tecomaria capensis...Flowers long, trumpet-shaped, orange to orange-red, in showy masses...The vernacular name is in reference to that of the cultivated honey-suckle.
1835 T.H. Bowker Journal. 2 Oct.My baggage Cafir horse died at fort Warden.
1835 W.B. Boyce in A. Steedman Wanderings II. 271I hope to be able, as soon as I get a Caffer hut to live in, to teach the people one hour every morning or evening.
1877 C. Andrews Reminiscences of Kafir War 1834–5. 31Passed the wooded hill..and bivouacked among some Kafir huts to the eastward of it.
1841 B. Shaw Memorials 38The Kaffir huts are constructed in the form of a bee-hive...In building these huts, strong poles are first firmly fastened in the ground; upon these a kind of mortar, composed of clay and the dung of animals, is plastered; and the whole is then overlaid with matting.
1851 T. Shone Diary. 4 MayWe were all wet thro, the rain running thro all our kaffre huts flooding of us, making of us miserable.
1857 R. Gray Jrnl of Visitation to Diocese of Graham’s Town 356A circular dining hall, which is an improved Kafir hut on a large scale.
1875 J.J. Bisset Sport & War 105They were buried on the heights..inside a Kafir hut.
1903 E.F. Knight S. Afr. after War 148Not even a Kaffir hut into which to crawl for shelter.
1923 B. Ronan Forty S. Afr. Yrs 88The most delightful of South African residences, the kafir hut transformed to meet European requirements...delightfully cool and comfortable.
1933 W.H.S. Bell Bygone Days 37On an opposite ridge were the Kafir huts where the native servants lived.
1949 C. Bullock Rina 74She disappeared among the huts of the kraal. Among the kaffir huts! The thing was..absurd!
1966 C.A. Smith Common Names 268Kaffir hut, Euphorbia meloformis.
1975 Dict. of Eng. Usage in Sn Afr. 95Kaffir hut,..Dome-shaped succulent resembling a special type of Afr[ican] hut.
1906 Rooivlerk in E. London Dispatch 4 Aug. 4The nasal whistle of the Common Hornbill or Kaffir Jack, is almost certain to come from various quarters.
1900 W.D. Drury Bk Gardening 348Schizostylis coccinae (Crimsom Flag; Kaffir Lily) is a lovely iridaceous subject with bright crimson gladiolus-like spikes of flower.
1946 M. Free All about House Plants 94Clivia miniata, Kafir Lily. Give only enough water to keep leaves from wilting.
1970 M. Allen Tom’s Weeds 27A feature of Number 1 greenhouse was the inantophyllum or Kaffir lily, renamed clivea by John Lindley in honour of the Duchess of Northumberland..a member of the Clive family.
1972 J.U. Crockett Flowering House Plants 110Kaffir lilies bloom in winter, bearing clusters of 12 to 20 brilliantly coloured lily-like flowers..on top of..stalks that rise from waxy, dark green, strap-like leaves.
1975 Egerton’s Postal Gift & Shopping Service Catal. 3Kaffir lilies..flower in Autumn and the variety bears numerous small, pink, starlike flowers.
1974 J. McClure Gooseberry Fool (1976) 22Does he think I’ll say he’s a kaffir lover?
1983 A. Paton Ah, but your Land is Beautiful 221You’re a kaffir-lover and a worm.
1988 E. Mphahlele Renewal Time 37Some of these kaffir-lovers..hate the thought of having cheap labour within easy reach when we remove black servants to their own locations.
1990 G. Slovo Ties of Blood 308Somebody grabbed her from behind. ‘Kaffir lover,’ hissed a voice.
1990 Weekend Post 24 Feb. (Leisure) 4The town’s white inhabitants..labelled the Hoopers ‘kaffir-lovers’.
1979 W. Ebersohn Lonely Place 104Five minutes after you left that kaffir maid my men were there.
1983 F.G. Butler Bursting World 169I remember question time best...The contributions ranged from the archetypal racist (‘why does General Smuts allow all these R.A.F.’s to come to South Africa and sleep with Kaffir-maids?’) to the enlightened prophetic.
1986 S. Sepamla Third Generation 16Sis Vi burst out..‘Look at me properly: I’m none of your kaffir maids!’ The lady with important looks turned white with rage.
1934 C.P. Swart Supplement to Pettman. 8Babala,..The Native name for a variety of manna known as Kaffir manna.
[1956 Off. Yr Bk of Union No. 28, 1954–55 (Bureau of Census & Statistics) 520N’Yati or Babala, also known as Cattail millet (Pennisetum hyphoides), known as Kaffermanna in Afrikaans.]
1966 C.A. Smith Common Names 265Kaffermanna(koring), Pennisetum hyphoides..and P. americanum...Large perennial grasses extensively cultivated by the natives for the grain which is used like the real Kafferkoring.
c1963 B.C. Tait Durban Story 56His children could not digest the tough, half-boiled, yellow Kaffir mealie.
1835 T.H. Bowker Journal. 31 Mar.Large fields of Caffer corn, Imfer, pumpkins, Caffer melons..growing luxuriantly.
1844 J. Backhouse Narr. of Visit 249The Caffer Melon, Citrullus Caffer, is a native of the country.
1948 V.M. Fitzroy Cabbages & Cream 208Beyond the house was a barn filled with kaffirmelons.
1971 L.G. Green Taste of S.-Easter 89Her atjar, bobotie and kaffir melon jam recipes are more appetising.
1950 H. Gerber Cape Cookery 102In the Eastern Province the very large kaffir mushroom enjoys popularity.
1852 R.J. Garden Diary. I. (Killie Campbell Africana Library MS29081) 22 Apr.Mrs Wylder took up a Caffir orange & tried to explain to her that the earth was round.
1891 R. Smith Great Gold Lands 238A kind of strychnia, called the Kaffir orange, bearing a hard-shelled fruit, filled with seeds embedded in a pleasant orange-like pulp.
1929 J. Stevenson-Hamilton Low-Veld 40The umsala (Strychnos spinosa) and the umkwakwa (Strychnos pungens) both termed kaffir orange..are small evergreen trees, bearing large globose fruits, three or four inches in diameter.
1934 P.R. Kirby Musical Instruments of Native Races (1965) 128Shiwaya..is made from the shell of a..‘kaffir orange’.
1972 M.R. Levyns in Std Encycl. of Sn Afr. VI. 267Kaffir orange. Monkey orange. Klapper. Msala. (Strychnos spinosa)..The fruit is large, much resembling an orange in form...The fleshy part of the fruit is edible.
1948 H.C. Bosman in L. Abrahams Unto Dust (1963) 172The spoor of a couple of kafir oxen that I smuggle across the Bechuanaland border.
1822 T. Philipps Philipps, 1820 Settler (1960) 117We accepted the offer of the Hottentot guide on his Ox, as the Caffre paths were numerous, and we did not know which to take.
1850 N.J. Merriman Cape Jrnls (1957) 143We had a long march over mountains by Kafir paths before us the following day.
1859 An Old Campaigner in Cape Monthly Mag. V. Apr. 230We threaded our way..through the pleasant forest bridle ways or Kafir paths which at that time intersected the country between Graham’s Town and the Fish River.
1864 A Lady Life at Natal (1972) 40We rode down to the place, crossed a wide sandy river, and then meandered up by crooked Kafir paths.
1877 R.M. Ballantyne Settler & Savage 299A jungle so dense that it would have been impassable but for a Kafir-path which had been kept open by wild animals.
1885 Lady Bellairs Tvl at War 210A mounted party was sent in advance to scale a Kafir path leading to the crest.
1903 D. Blackburn Burgher Quixote 107I struck a kafir path, which I followed.
1936 P.M. Clark Autobiog. of Old Drifter 117Though there was a road of sorts, we were able — having a guide — to make use of kaffir paths as short cuts.
1949 C. Bullock Rina 48The winding kaffir path, so true in its main direction, so absurdly sinuous in detail.
a1951 H.C. Bosman Willemsdorp (1977) 17There was that Kafir path that he and his younger brother had walked along every afternoon back from the farm-school.
1853 F.P. Fleming Kaffraria 36Amongst these various Kaffrarian trees may be enumerated the Kaffir-Pear, or Oichna, of a reddish wood, which bears a good polish, and works well into furniture, though not so durable as others.
1851 R.J. Garden Diary. I. (Killie Campbell Africana Library MS29081) 2 JulyThey made assegais & Caffir picks the customers bringing their own iron, but before the Colony of Natal was formed they used to smelt the ore from iron stone.
1887 A.A. Anderson 25 Yrs in Waggon I. 106They are very expert in metal, melting the ore for the manufacture of ornaments, assagais, Kaffir picks, and such things as they require.
c1963 B.C. Tait Durban Story 66Barter was the trade language of the country folk who exchanged calico, beads, salt, kaffir-picks and all sorts of odds and ends for pumpkin and mealies.
1852 R.J. Garden Diary. I. (Killie Campbell Africana Library MS29081) 21 Apr.Entering the hut I found a young girl about 16 or 17 lying on the floor on a mat her head resting on a caffir pillow.
1968 K. McMagh Dinner of Herbs 22A ‘kaffir pillow’, a small saddle of wood [used] as a head rest at night.
1844 J. Backhouse Narr. of Visit 205I visited a steep wood..to see the tree known in the colony by the name of pruim or Caffer-plum, pappea capensis.
1875 J.J. Bisset Sport & War 76One great fellow had got..into the branches of a Kaffir plum tree.
1880 S.W. Silver & Co.’s Handbk to S. Afr. 132The timber-yielding trees..are these —..Kaffir Plum.
1892 A. Sutherland in Cape Illust. Mag. Vol.3 No.4, 134I noticed the crimson gleam of some Kaffir plums amongst the foliage on the opposite bank.
1923 W.C. Scully Daniel Vananda 145A large ‘umgwenya’ (Kafir plum) tree..wide-branched and with dense, dark-green foliage.
1933 W.H.S. Bell Bygone Days 36A kafir plum is..chiefly composed of a large stone of nearly an inch in length, round this oblong stone is a thin covering of juicy, fleshy substance, and covering that is the skin; both the fleshy part and the skin have an attractive flavour.
1954 U. Van der Spuy Ornamental Shrubs & Trees 134The Kaffir Plum..is grown for its handsome form and attractive foliage. Mature trees branch rather high above the ground level.
1972 Palmer & Pitman Trees of Sn Afr. II. 1195The Kaffir plum, which so much resembled the dog plum or essenhout, Ekebergia capensis, in foliage, is an evergreen tree found in the forests of the Cape Province.
1977 E. Prov. Herald 16 Nov. 17A Kaffir Plum..is one of the familiar street trees of Port Elizabeth.
1990 Weekend Argus 14 July 7The King is seen planting a kaffir-plum at the foot of Government Avenue in 1947.
1882 S. Heckford Lady Trader in Tvl 291A disease much resembling scabies — called, I believe, Kaffir-pock — was very prevalent at Makapan’s-poort.
1887 J.W. Matthews Incwadi Yami 109Kafir pox, a varicelloid disease, believed to attack only natives, also known as ‘Wacht en beitje’ pock (Dutch, ‘wait a bit,’), as it delayed them on their road.
1932 M.W. Henning Animal Diseases 644 (Swart)It (sc. Acokanthera venenata) is known popularly as ‘Hottentot’s poison’, ‘Bushman poison’, ‘Kaffir poison’ or merely ‘poison bush’, also as ‘gifboom’.
1943 I. Frack S. Afr. Doctor 121In the beginning I used to argue with the people that there was no such thing as kaffir poison, designed exclusively to annoy Europeans.
1968 Cole & Flaherty House of Bondage 153Minor illness — including what white hospitals call ‘Kaffir poison,’ a physical and psychological malaise that resists Western-style treatment.
1836 C.L. Stretch Journal.Applied for a military escort to support the Caffre Police.
1845 J. Montagu Letter. (Cape Archives LG84, p.25) 12 Dec.The Governor’s Dispatch to the Lieutenant Governor [in] relation to the Kafir Police, dated 30th May last.
1853 G. Cathcart 17 Apr. in Cape of G.H. Annexures (1854) During the whole of the late war, a portion of the Kafir Police remained faithful, and did good service as levies and guides.
1878 T.J. Lucas Camp Life & Sport 49There was a Kaffir police organized for..purposes connected with the native administration.
1884 B. Adams Narr. (1941) 199On reaching Fort Hare we found..a Division..there consisting of 50 Dragoons, 120 Cape Mounted Rifles, 250 of the 45th Regiment, 50 Kaffir Police and a few Burghers.
1941 A. Gordon-Brown Narr. of Private Buck Adams 202Kaffir Police, A small body..enrolled in 1835..was disbanded in 1846. Another body of 100 men..formed in January 1847..was found so useful that the number was increased to 446 men. The Kaffir Police deserted early in the war of 1850–3.
1976 A. Delius Border 272Duma seems to be endlessly useful as a member of the Kafir Police.
1878 P. Gillmore Great Thirst Land 425He got a Kaffir pot, and built it in over an oven, had a condenser made, and for a worm substituted an old gun-barrel.
1882 C.L. Norris-Newman With Boers in Tvl 190On Sundays..a general stew was made in a large Kaffir pot, with the addition of a little rice and pumpkin..to the meat.
1896 H.A. Bryden Tales of S. Afr. 260The kaptein..persuaded the vrouw to..roast..a joint of springbok in a Kaffir pot, with hot embers below and on the lid.
1900 E.E.K. Lowndes Every-Day Life 89The Kaffir pot, a large iron pot with three legs..can be stood right on the fire.
1922 S.G. Millin Adam’s Rest 254Over the fire stood a big black tripod Kaffir-pot.
1929 J.G. Van Alphen Jan Venter 148Underneath the waggon swung..a soot-blackened kettle and gridiron, and a three-legged Kafir pot.
1942 S. Cloete Hill of Doves 24Outside, on the stoep, were..three-legged Kaffir pots of various sizes, chained together by their handles.
1959 A. Fullerton Yellow Ford 177I use a kaffirpot, a three-legged thing made of cast iron.
1964 J. Van Zyl in New S. Afr. Writing 47Three great bulbous kaffir-pots brimming with hot soup for the African school children during the winter.
1973 M.A. Cook Cape Kitchen 43The so-called ‘Kaffir’ pot..introduced about the middle of the 19th century..was intended for the cooking of mealie-meal.
1976 D.M.B. Preston Story of Frontier Town 59Round-bellied iron pots..commonly called ‘Kaffir-pots’ to this day..were imported from England.
1986 W. Steenkamp in Cape Times 11 Jan. 5A colleague of mine who is a potjiekos fan..went into a shop up-country (catering mainly for the tribal trade) and asked for a cast-iron pot. ‘Oh,’ said the woman behind the counter with more honesty than tact, ‘you mean a kaffir-pot’. My colleague..made it clear that..he did not like that ancient and time-dishonoured ethnic designation.
1988 H. Prendini in Style June 102Homesick exiles..including one..who arrived complete with his kaffirpot, his mealie meal and a ball jar of homemade sousboontjies.
1866 C. Barter Alone among Zulus 117A long kidney potato, not originally indigenous, but which now goes by the name of ‘Kaffir potato’.
1966 C.A. Smith Common Names 268Kaffir potato, Coleus esculentus...The vernacular name is derived from the nature of the rootstock which is eaten like a potato by natives in Tropical Africa and in Natal.
1978 J. Branford Dict. of S. Afr. Eng. 109Kaffir print,..Inexpensive cotton material usu. of blue or brown, closely printed with geometrical or floral designs.
1906 Stark & Sclater Birds of S. Afr. IV. 244Kaffir rail, Rallus caerulescens.
1923 Haagner & Ivy Sketches of S. Afr. Bird-Life 254The Kaffir Rail (Rallus caerulescens) is dark brown above, merging into slatey-blackish on the crown: throat white.
1832 Graham’s Town Jrnl 1 June 92They made a coffin for Mr. Green..by getting a few spars laid down, into which Jacob placed the body, making it fast with Caffer ropes.
1970 Beeton & Dorner in Eng. Usage in Sn Afr. Vol.1 No.2, 39Kaffir scimitar,..see: kaffir plum.
1870 C. Hamilton Life & Sport in S.-E. Afr. 219Kaffir sheep, a breed of animals with large ears, having the appearance of a cross with a goat.
1930 Farming in S. Afr. Jan. 505 (Swart)Throughout the bushveld the so called ‘Kaffir’ sheep are found in fair numbers.
1937 Handbk for Farmers (Dept of Agric. & Forestry) 136The Kaffirsheep, as found in the northern Transvaal, is inferior for slaughter purposes.
1860 Harvey & Sonder Flora Capensis I. 93According to Ecklon and Zeyher, confirmed by Dr. Pappe, the root is a Caffir remedy for the bite of serpents, whence the specific name, and the colonial ‘Kaffir Schlangen Wortel.’
[1885 A. Smith Contrib. to S. Afr. Materia Medica 9Polygala SerpentariaKaffir Snake-root. Dutch, Kaffer Schlangenwortel.]
1966 C.A. Smith Common Names 266Kafferslangwortel, Poly serpentaria...A lax procumbent shrub with a thick woody root. Flowers in masses, mauve to pinkish, the outer sepals yellowish.
1856 Cape of G.H. Almanac & Annual Register 344Pelargonium Scutatum. Sweet (Geraniaceae). The juice of the petals produces a blue colour of the tint of Indigo and may advantageously be used for painting...The vernacular name of this plant is Kafir-Sorrel (Kaffir Zuring).
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 243Kaffir sorrel,..The astringent sap of the leaves is used to relieve sore throats.
1895 Star 17 Dec. 2Main Reef, near Town. Stand 50 x 50: just the right spot for Kaffir Store: near Compound; £125.
1900 One Who Was In It Kruger’s Secret Service 138Bottles and jars full of things usually sold in a Kaffir store.
1923 G.H. Nicholls Bayete! 130The two messengers..were dressed in the long overcoats to be found in every Kaffir store.
1950 C. Bullock Mashona & Matabele 220The local ‘kaffir store’..is now a commercial exchange in all but the remotest areas. It is also a rather poor sort of social centre.
1961 Redwing (St Andrew’s College, Grahamstown) 31We had been to the Kaffir store and bought a baby’s bottle.
1887 S.W. Silver & Co.’s Handbk to S. Afr. 467The revenue of the Territory, derived chiefly from land sale, quitrents, licences, stamps, transfer dues, capitation tax, and Kaffir tax, was, in 1878, 105,130l., and the expenditure 152,000l. 10s.
1980 C. Hope A Separate Development (1983) 12The Yannovitchs drove an old green, hump-back Dodge to Sunday mass. Parked in among the Vauxhalls and Morrises it looked like a kaffir taxi.
1985 P. Slabolepszy Sat. Night at Palace 17We had this old ’48 Dodge. Real kaffir-taxi. Took the old toppie a whole bladdy day to crack Durbs in that thing.
1989 D. Mullany in Scope 21 Apr. 4The sardine-stuffed, wrong-side-of-the road, won’t-budge ‘kaffir’ taxi.
1851 J.J. Freeman Tour 362One kind hearted woman..prepared a Kaffir meal for us — a pot of sour-milk, some Kaffir corn bread and some Kaffir tea.
a1862 J. Ayliff Jrnl of ‘Harry Hastings’ (1963) 93After a good supper of rice, some salt ration beef, and a bason of Kaffir tea, the family sang an hymn, Mr Trollip had prayers, and the family retired to rest.
1870 C. Hamilton Life & Sport in S.-E. Afr. 253We made some Kaffir tea from a plant which is a kind of mint, possessing a bitter flavour.
1899 G. Russell Hist. of Old Durban 96An indigenous herb both nutritive and refreshing, which is known to us as ‘Kafir Tea’ (Athrixia Phylicifolia).
1949 L.G. Green In Land of Afternoon 55Bush tea is popular in the fashionable cafes of the United States. They call it ‘Kaffir tea’ over there.
c1963 B.C. Tait Durban Story 56She dried and infused a local herb, Athrixia Phylicifolia, which belied its designation of ‘Kaffir tea’ by being nutritive as well as stimulating.
1978 Sunday Times 30 July 6 (advt)Kaffir ‘tea’ is the dried leaves of the rooibosch shrub which grows on the highlands above Cape Town.
1906 B. Stoneman Plants & their Ways 258L[ycium] afrum (Kaffir thorn) is used for hedges.
1958 R.E. Lighton Out of Strong 49Even the leaves of the kaffir-thorn that crowned the school rockery did not stir.
1833 Graham’s Town Jrnl 15 Aug. 3This late Zoola attack on these tribes, was for the purpose of taking cattle to obtain the sinews, or Caffer thread, to sew rings on the heads of several of the junior Regiments.
1972 Sunday Times 13 Feb. (Mag. Sect.)When I was a lad dagga was known as ‘kaffir’ tobacco and had a vast sale at 1s. a lb.
1841 J. Collett Diary. II. 10 MaySail twine & Kaffir Tow.
1832 Graham’s Town Jrnl 12 Oct. 159Ball Buttons, Beads, and Handkerchiefs for the Caffer trade.
1837 J.E. Alexander Narr. of Voy. I. 364In eighteen months, the Kaffir trade in ivory, principally exchanged for beads, buttons, brass-wire, &c., yielded thirty-two thousand pounds.
1877 R.M. Ballantyne Settler & Savage 399Just look at the Kafir trade, which last year..amounted to above £40,000 — that’s crushed out altogether.
1882 C. Du Val With Show through Sn Afr. I. 171A large Kaffir trade is carried on here.
1882 C. Du Val With Show through Sn Afr. I. 220The shelves of the stores devoted to what is called the ‘kaffir trade’.
1903 Ilanga 10 Apr. 3I might point out to manufacturers at Home the volume of business they were neglecting in the kafir trade.
1941 C.W. De Kiewiet Hist. of S. Afr. 251Bad brandy, good only for the Kafir trade.
1949 C. Bullock Rina 33Bags of coarse salt, kaffir trade blankets, limbo, knives, beads, changes of boots and clothing.
1975 D.H. Strutt Clothing Fashions 351Mackintoshes cost 6/6 (65c) and a cheaper line was advertised in Johannesburg for the ‘Kafir’ trade.
1829 W. Shaw Diary. 17 JuneThe Caffre Traders have conceived a prejudice against the Store, and have used their utmost influence to put it down.
1832 Graham’s Town Jrnl 6 Apr. 58The Caffer Trader whose occupation may be dated from the first Caffre Fair held on the 24th of May 1822.
1836 Albany Settlers 1824–36 (Soc. for Relief of Distressed Settlers) 16Two persons of colour..were waggon-drivers in the employment of Messrs. Simpson & Ford, Caffer traders.
1822 G. Barker Journal. 17 Aug.Planted a large Caffre Tree behind the house.
1955 A. Delius Young Trav. in S. Afr. 149There were peach trees absolutely covered in blossom and red-flowering kaffir-trees and many other flowering plants.
1958 A. Delius in R.M. Macnab Poets in S. Afr. 32It sees the logic of decaying rock, maturing soil and fumbling root concluding in the flagrance of a Kafir-tree.
1848 E. Prov. Directory (advt)Ayliff and Co..a large and varied assortment of Merchandize..Fineries, Clothing, Hardware, Saddlery..Kaffir Truck, Breadstuffs, Groceries.
1851 J. & M. Churchill Merchant Family in Natal (1979) 19Getting out of stocks very fast, especially in Caffir Truck as blankets, sheets, beads, etc.
1855 G.H. Mason Life with Zulus 133Enterprising native races, dependent entirely on the P.M. Berg traders, for blankets, hatchets, rough agricultural implements, and ‘Caffre truck.’
1877 C. Andrews Reminiscences of Kafir War 1834–5. 8Kaffir truck was down in the market, brown Kafir cloth was cheap.
1882 C. Du Val With Show through Sn Afr. II. 202With their wonderful rolls of baggage containing all the various articles purchasable at a ‘Kaffir truck’ store carried on their heads.
1900 J. Robinson Life Time in S. Afr. 279Glass beads, knives, scissors, needles, thread, small looking-glasses..are the chief staples of ‘Kafir truck’ to-day.
1908 D. Blackburn Leaven 218Bulalie was receiving fifty-three shillings a month...and spent half of it at the kafir truck store in childish unnecessaries.
1936 Cambridge Hist. of Brit. Empire VIII. 818Every trader who taught natives to buy cotton blankets and shirts, beads and all the range of kaffir truck..added a new demand upon the scanty wealth and low productivity of the natives.
1941 Bantu World 15 Mar. 4The days of ‘Kafir’ trucks [sic] are fast passing away. The ambition of the new African..is to possess the good and higher things of civilisation.
1943 J. Burger Black Man’s Burden 51The trade with Natives is often referred to as the ‘Kaffir truck’ trade.
1943 J. Burger Black Man’s Burden 219The principal imports [into Swaziland] are maize and other foodstuffs, blankets, clothes, and what the official report calls ‘kaffir truck’.
1949 C. Bullock Rina 70Most of the stuff I had to present was cheap kaffir truck — Manchester blankets, lembo and suchlike.
1958 S. Cloete Mask 86Kaffir truck — axe heads, knives, blankets, beads, black three-legged iron cook-pots and small mirrors.
1968 F.C. Metrowich Frontier Flames 90Before long the more sophisticated Xhosas refused to barter their possessions for red clay. They demanded beads, buttons, trinkets and other Kaffir truck in return for their goods.
1982 Pace May 43He was in charge of what was then called the kaffir-truck — merchandise aimed mainly for the black market.
1990 Sunday Times 4 Mar. 17I became a buyer in a department called the ‘kaffir truck’.
1798 in G.M. Theal Rec. of Cape Col. (1898) II. 245They have been ruined by the Kaffir war and Bushman depredations.
1805 R. Semple Walks & Sketches 191During the Caffre War three English deserters, ready to die of hunger, approached the house of a boor.
1812 A. Plumptre tr. of H. Lichtenstein’s Trav. in Sn Afr. (1928) I. 210A year after the flight of Buys the Caffre war began, but what part he had..in..it is not easy to decide.
1835 G. Champion Jrnl (1968) 13The Caffre war, it is thot, will soon end, & the country be settled.
1838 J.E. Alexander Exped. into Int. II. 186Before the Caffer war of 1835 the British settlers in Albany were in a very prosperous condition..when suddenly the prospects..were blighted by the destructive invasion of the Caffers.
1841 B. Shaw Memorials 234Since the late Kaffir war, an extensive revival of religion has taken place at Graham’s Town.
1857 D. Livingstone Missionary Trav. 93Our route..led us..through the centre of the colony during the twentieth month of the Caffre War.
1878 T.J. Lucas Camp Life & Sport 140Some discriminating individual has truly observed..that a Kaffir war is ‘the snob of all wars’.
1889 Vanity Fair in S. Clarke ‘Vanity Fair’ in S. Afr. (1991) 62He served in the Kaffir War..in the Zulu War.., and in the [first] Boer War.
1891 T.R. Beattie Pambaniso 8Their determination to keep possession of the rich lands of Kaffraria amid all the dangers and troubles coincident with the life of the early Settlers in the days of Kaffir wars.
1898 G.M. Theal Rec. of Cape Col. II. 245They have been ruined by the Kaffir war and Bushman depredations.
1923 B. Ronan Forty S. Afr. Yrs 81What an important part that dull old town had played in the numerous kafir wars, particularly the Gaika-Galeka campaigns.
1939 R.F.A. Hoernlé S. Afr. Native Policy 5Eleven successive ‘kafir-wars’, the last of which was the ‘Zulu Rebellion’ of 1906.
1943 I. Frack S. Afr. Doctor 63Those days of the Kaffir Wars when the natives objected strenuously to the occupation of their country by the white men.
1962 L.E. Neame Hist. of Apartheid 14This early attempt at segregation failed, for the Xosas crossed the river again and their incursion led to the first of the many so-called Kafir Wars.
1972 Cape Times 9 Nov. 7An endless succession of ‘Kafir Wars’ and an ever-shifting boundary-line on the dim Kaffrarian border.
1980 D.B. Coplan Urbanization of African Performing Arts. 77In the Cape, evangelism fed on a series of ‘Kaffir Wars’ between the Xhosa and the British.
1980 C. Hope A Separate Development (1983) 70Everything is a question of black and white...You’d think we were still fighting the Kaffir Wars.
1986 M. Picardie in S. Gray Market Plays 94Tannie used to..tell me stories of..the Kaffir Wars.
1992 Weekend Post 31 Oct. 9Kaffir Beer had been largely replaced by sorghum beer,..and Kaffir War by Frontier War.
1993 Sunday Times 17 Oct. 25The sixth, seventh and eighth Frontier Wars (still known hereabouts as the Kaffir Wars).
1826 A.G. Bain Jrnls (1949) 5Sibigho sent us two earthen vessels full of boiled Caffre water melon.
1832 Graham’s Town Jrnl 1 June 92When Cowie was sick all the Caffers..were dispatched forward, that they might get Caffer water melons to make soup.
1868 W.H. Harvey Genera of S. Afr. Plants 124C. vulgaris..is the ‘Kaffir Water-melon’ and ‘Bitter Apple’ of the colonists, and a wild variety of the common European and Asiatic Water-melon.
1887 S.W. Silver & Co.’s Handbk to S. Afr. 140When edible or sweet, this is called..Kaffir water-melon; when bitter, it is called..bitter apple, and the pulp of this may be used like that of the Colocynth.
1890 A.G. Hewitt Cape Cookery 59Kafir Watermelon Komfyt.
1891 H.J. Duckitt Hilda’s ‘Where Is It?’ 118Jam (Kaffir Water Melon).
1951 S. van H. Tulleken Prac. Cookery Bk 327Take the inside of a kaffir watermelon; mince it, and to every 8 lbs minced kaffir watermelon add 2 lbs minced pineapples.
1983 Sunday Times 4 Sept. (Mag. Sect.) 22The recipe for ‘Kaffir Whisky’ was just as horrific: ‘100gal Delagoa Bay proof spirit, 1gal tincture of prunes, 3lb glycerine, 1 pint green tea, ½oz acetic acid, 20 drops of creosote and 12 drops oil of cognac’.
1905 P. Gibbon Vrouw Grobelaar 253Call it Kafir work, or what you please.
1908 M.C. Bruce New Tvl 28The British working man has a healthy repugnance towards doing ‘Kafir’s work’..keeping himself in every way above the level of the native.
1908 M.C. Bruce New Tvl 59To her mind certain duties were ‘Kafir’s work’, and she would starve rather than touch them.
1909 R.H. Brand Union of S. Afr. 28The growth of a poor white class which is too ignorant for any skilled trade and yet refuses to do ‘Kaffir work’ is an ominous sign.
1920 S.M. Molema Bantu Past & Present 253To do manual labour..they call it ‘kaffir work’..would be degrading to their caste.
1939 R.F.A. Hoernlé S. Afr. Native Policy 23The poor white is psychologically handicapped by his tradition of membership of the master-class, expressed in contempt for ‘kafir-work’ and unwillingness to undertake it, especially in public labour-gangs.
1943 J. Burger Black Man’s Burden 195Colour prejudice has helped to establish an economic ideology that uses such terms as ‘civilised labour’ and ‘kaffir work’.
1958 R.E. Lighton Out of Strong 167Their children went to school to learn, not to do kaffir work.
1964 M. Benson Afr. Patriots 68The Wall Street crash struck South Africa at a time of sever drought. The poorest people — white and black — were badly hit. Poor whites took kafir work and hundreds of blacks were thrown out of work.
1964 W.H. Hutt Economics of Colour Bar 35They had been taught to regard any form of labouring as ‘Kaffir work’ and hence as beneath the white man’s dignity.
1977 F.G. Butler Karoo Morning 132White men in their thousands were forced to do what they regarded as menial work — kaffir’s work — with picks and shovels.
1979 T. Gutsche There Was a Man 131Ds Bosman’s advice was that they should go back to the land and work with their hands; but that was ‘kaffir work’ and no one accepted it.
1980 C. Hope A Separate Development (1983) 52That’s the trouble with this country, everyone wants to be a boss. Anything else is kaffir work.
1988 D. Owen in Laband & Haswell Pietermaritzburg 1838–1988 129Relief work, because it entailed manual labour — ‘kaffir work’ — remained extremely unpopular.
3. Obsolete except in historical contexts Usually with initial capital. a. The Xhosa language. b. rare Any (or all) of the Nguni languages (see Nguni noun sense 2 a). c. Any (or all) of the Sintu (Bantu) languages (see Sintu, Bantu adjective sense 1). Also attributive.
1779 W. Paterson in J.B. Bullock Peddie — Settlers’ Outpost (c1960) 5A pleasant river, called in the Caffre language, Mugu Ranie.
1828 W. Shaw Diary. 8 JuneFor the first time, I read a Sermon in Caffre at our forenoon service; the countenances of most of the people afforded pleasing evidence that they understood me.
1835 G. Champion Jrnl (1968) 2The Dutch it is said is..absolutely necessary upon the frontiers, & at the stations, it being there, except the Caffre, the only spoken language.
1842 J.W. Appleyard War of Axe (1971) 29A few days before our District meeting I finished my Kaffer grammar, which has occupied most of my time and study during the past year.
1849 J.D. Lewins Diary. 22 Sept.Entered some more words in my Caffre vocabulary.
1850 E. Wright Letter.Billy and Polly can ask for anything they want in kaffir, and will soon speak it as correctly as English.
1860 W. Shaw Story of my Mission 471I translated what he said into Dutch, from which language one of our people, a very apt interpreter, rendered it into Kaffir.
1870 T.M. Thomas 11 Yrs in Central S. Afr. 194The languages of South Africa are divided into two great families, of which the Hottentot and Kafir may be regarded as bases...Dr. Bleek, in his comparative grammar, however, divides them into three classes — Kafir, Hottentot, and Bushman.
1877 C. Andrews Reminiscences of Kafir War 1834–5. 34After a second warning in Kafir Southey fired a second shot which wounded him in the left side.
1880 S. Lakeman What I Saw in Kaffir-Land 73Johnny Fingo, their chief, was a tall, powerful fellow, who spoke Kaffir perfectly well.
1898 J.F. Ingram Story of Afr. City 52It consists of five stars surmounted by an elephant, with the word ‘Umgungunhlovo,’ the Kafir name for the city, underneath.
1900 W.S. Churchill London to Ladysmith 190Worst of all, I could not speak a word of Dutch or Kaffir, and how was I to get food or direction?
1906 J. Stewart Outlines of Kaffir Grammar p.viSometimes statements are made about the beauty of the Kaffir language. On this the writer can offer no opinion.
1909 G.Y. Lagden Basutos II. 6531. The Kaffir or Zulu sub-class; 2. the se-Chuana or se-Suto sub-class; and 3. the Herero and otj-Ambo sub-class. The Kaffir dialects are spoken by tribes residing on the East Coast, east and south of the Lebombo Mountains and the Drakensberg as far south as Port Elizabeth.
1912 E. London Dispatch 4 Sept. 7 (Pettman)You hear an Englishman speak of dobo grass, dongas, tollies, tsholo, etc., which are pure Kaffir.
1933 tr. of in W.H.S. Bell Bygone Days 352Opposite to me was a nice-looking old gentleman who spoke Kafir.
1949 Principles of Internat. Phonetic Assoc. (1967) Xhosa (Kaffir).
1955 J.B. Shephard Land of Tikoloshe 127John Bennie, a Scot, has been called the Father of Xhosa literature because the credit for reducing the ‘Caffre’ tongue to writing is largely due to him.
1979 A. Gordon-Brown Settlers’ Press 56The long-expected Kafir grammar by the Revd W.B. Boyce was at once set up and was printed in time for Shaw to comment in the preface, dated 5 February 1834, that a few obvious errors had escaped correction.
d. With distinguishing epithet: mine-kaffir: a former name for fanakalo. Also attributive.
1947 O. Walker in Vandag Vol.1 No.9, 25They live amid a welter of tongues — Bantu, mine-kaffir, Afrikaans and pidgin English.
1972 L.G. Green When Journey’s Over 123Fanagalo has many names. Known in its early days as Kitchen Kaffir or Mine Kaffir [etc.].
4. obsolete. The black eagle, Aquila verreauxii.
c1808 C. von Linné System of Nat. Hist. VIII. 25The Caffrarian Eagle...The caffre is as large as the golden eagle; the claws short, but not so much hooked...The plumage is entirely black, except a few brownish reflections on the smaller wing-coverts towards the pinions. Its colour, and being found only in Caffraria, made Vaillant call it Caffre.
1867 E.L. Layard Birds of S. Afr. 12Aquila Verreauxii...Le Vaillant evidently founded his ‘Caffre’ upon this species.
5. As in general English: an infidel or unbeliever.
Note:
A relatively rare sense in South African English.
1827 T. Philipps Scenes & Occurrences 116They call themselves Amakosæ or the tribe of Kousa. Caffer is an Arabian word for infidel or bad man; and they themselves frequently so apply it.
1860 W. Shaw Story of my Mission 396It is somewhat remarkable that the term ‘Kaffir’ is not a name used by the natives to designate either themselves or any other tribes in the country. The word is derived from the Arabic, and signifies an infidel or unbeliever.
1870 C. Hamilton Life & Sport in S.-E. Afr. 58The meaning of the word Kaffir, or Kafir, is ‘unbeliever.’ These men have no written laws, nor prescribed forms of religion.
1902 G.M. Theal Beginning of S. Afr. Hist. I. 109They (sc. communities of Asiatic origin on the East African coast) termed the Bantu inhabitants of the mainland Kaffirs, that is infidels, an epithet adopted by modern Europeans and still in use.
1937 B.H. Dicke Bush Speaks 52The Bantu being ‘kafirs’ (unbelievers) and heathens — poor, doomed souls, according to the idea of people who harbour the presumption that they alone are the true believers.
1968 K. McMagh Dinner of Herbs 63The whites were to learn to their cost that the ‘Kaffirs’ or unbelievers were not the noble savages pictured in the story-books of the day.
1972 Grocott’s Mail 9 May 3A kaffir is a person who does not believe in the existence of God...There are no kaffirs today. We have all gone to school. We know God and we pray to him every day.
1982 Sunday Times 5 Sept. (Extra) 3It is tantamount to heresy itself for one Muslim to call another Muslim a Kaffir (unbeliever).
1989 Frontline Mar. 13Kafir, Arabic for a non-believer in Islam, applies to every non-Muslim, including Messrs Terre’Blanche and Treurnicht.
6.
a. [Probably used in this sense because the word was strongly associated with South Africa; in the context of the stock exchange, perhaps first used in the name Kaffir Circus, see quotation 1948 at sense b.] Either attributive, or plural : South African mining shares traded on the London Stock Exchange.
1889 Rialto 23 Mar. (Farmer)Tintos climbed to 12¼, and even Kaffirs raised their sickly heads.
1895 Nation 19 Dec. 481The mines floated on the London Stock Exchange which are classed under the general head of ‘Kaffers’.
1896 Purvis & Biggs S. Afr. 133The Kaffir boom of 1895..like its predecessors was the result of artificial movements on the part of the Stock Exchange riggers.
1896 Purvis & Biggs S. Afr. 151Some of the big men of the Kaffir Market laid the foundation of their fortunes by illicit diamond buying.
1909 Rand Daily Mail 16 Nov. 7Kaffirs closed dull.
1932 Grocott’s Mail 2 Apr. 3The rise in sterling will probably have the effect of causing prices of Kaffirs on the London Stock Exchange, to fall.
1936 Rand Daily Mail 6 Jan. 4The Kaffir distributions are less interesting as a guide to gold share prospects than as yet another indication of South African prosperity.
1942 Star 30 Dec. 6On the London Stock Exchange yesterday Kaffirs were quietly steady and a shade harder.
1946 S. Cloete Afr. Portraits 326Whenever there was a chance of trouble..the Kaffir stocks rose in value, on the assumption that the trouble would be for others..and the benefits for the British stock-holders.
1952 Drum Dec. 11Kaffirs opened..in rather a nervous condition under the influence of the news of the Port Elizabeth riots.
1968 E.A. Walker Hist. of Sn Afr. 446The ‘Kaffir boom’ in mining shares, following on the proving of the deep levels was at its height.
1976 Sunday Times 1 Aug. 18The London gold share market — known as the ‘Kaffir Market’ since its inception — was dealt a critical blow when British Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr Dennis Healey, refused to change the rules regarding foreign portfolio investment.
1983 J.A. Brown White Locusts 315The total effect has been a loss of confidence in the Kaffir market. The familiar cry has gone up: ‘Johannesburg is a dangerous investment.’
b. Special Combinations
Kaffir Circus obs. exc. historical, (a) the market on the London Stock Exchange where South African mining shares were traded; (b) rare, a name given to South African mining magnates residing in London.
1896 M. Donovan Kaffir Circus 96A big boom is on in the Kaffir Circus, and Laure’s shares are worth £15000.
1899 Sketch 19 July 572The Miscellaneous Market has acquired a reputation of closely sympathising with the Kaffir circus.
1901 C. Duguid How To Read Money Article 121The market in which they are dealt in the Stock Exchange is often called the ‘Kaffir Circus.’
1902 Encycl. Brit. XXXII. 865At first..the ‘Kaffre Circus’..was regarded with contempt by the older habitués of the Stock Exchange.
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 241Kaffir circus, A slang name for the market on the Stock Exchange, where transactions in South African land, mining and other stock are carried out.
1928 Daily Chron. (U.K.) 9 Aug. 6The Kaffir Circus presented a very idle appearance.
1939 F.B. Young City of Gold 482A wild, indiscriminate boom in the Kaffir Circus; for war would mean the overthrow of the Republican Government.
1945 N. Devitt People & Places 145‘Kaffir circus’..was the name given in London to the market in gold shares when the Rand goldfields were first opened.
1948 Story of Jhb. Stock Exchange (Comm. of Jhb. Stock Exchange) 44South African gold mining shares were dubbed ‘Kaffirs’ on the London Stock Exchange, and the section of the market devoted to business in them was first called the ‘Kaffir Circus’, which name stood for many years until the last part of the sobriquet was dropped and South African gold shares settled down under the name of ‘Kaffirs’.
1967 E. Rosenthal Encycl. of Sn Afr. 278Kaffir Circus, Expression for the section of the London Stock Exchange specialising in South African Gold shares.
1987 G. Viney Col. Houses 142The arrival of all these colonials was greeted with a certain amount of scorn..and their frantic social efforts caused them to be collectively and slightingly referred to as ‘the Kaffir Circus’.
7. Obsolete except in historical contexts In Cape Town: an armed, uniformed slave with various official duties, such as that of exciseman, peace-keeper, policeman, and executioner.
1925 H.J. Mandelbrote tr. of O.F. Mentzel’s Descr. of Cape of G.H. II. 124Slaves..called ‘Kaffirs’ are armed with a sword with iron hilt, carrying a ‘palang’ or heavy club, wear a grey uniform consisting of a short coat with blue lapels, a waistcoat and trousers, and receive some petty perquisites as well.
1926 P.W. Laidler Tavern of Ocean 80The Company’s storehouse, a wing of which was occupied by the Provost and his ‘kaffirs’, faced the sea.
1926 P.W. Laidler Tavern of Ocean 105He had..ten constables, and nineteen under-constables, the latter Kaffirs or men picked from among the prisoners on Robben Island.
1975 D.H. Strutt Clothing Fashions 143Some of the more trusted male slaves..employed as assistants to the police..given a certain amount of authority and armed with a short sword, were called Kaffirs.
B. adjective
1. rare. Of or pertaining to the black peoples of South Africa.
1925 D. Kidd Essential Kafir p.vThe people have forgotten Umkulunkulu’s praise-giving names, and so can hardly worship him in any sense which is adequately Kafir.
2. derogatory. With negative connotations:
a. In the noun phrase kaffir bargain, a spurious bargain.
1934 N. Giles Ridge of White Waters 266‘Another kaffir bargain!’ said Sir Alfred wearily.
1937 C.R. Prance Tante Rebella’s Saga 67He and the doctor drove a grim ‘Kafir bargain’, like a Jew speculator trying to sell a barren heifer as ‘due to calve shortly’.
1979 T. Pakenham Boer War (1982) 67Milner brushed aside Kruger’s Reform Bill. It was a ‘Kaffir-bargain’.
1979 T. Pakenham Boer War (1982) 487This was the short-cut he (sc. Milner) dreaded: some kind of botched up settlement, a ‘Kaffir bargain’, he called it.
b. Bad, inferior, unreliable; clumsy, inept.
1948 O. Walker Kaffirs Are Lively 27Kaffir..is, in fact, an adjective of contempt in the ordinary speech of the South African when he speaks of a ‘Kaffir’ trick, or ‘Kaffir’ work.
1961 Spectator (U.K.) 14 July 53‘That was a real Kaffir shot.’..This..was the first time I had come across Kaffir, adj.: bad, clumsy, inferior..etc.
c. In the phr. to go kaffir, to go native (see Native adjective sense 3).
1956 J. Chatterton Return of Drums 36He could not forgive those who hinted that he chose to lead this solitary life because he had gone ‘kaffir’, because he had taken to Native women.
A black African inhabitant of the region now covered by KwaZulu-Natal and the north-eastern parts of the Eastern Cape, i.e. a member of any of the Nguni groups which in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries became consolidated into the Xhosa and Zulu peoples.
Xhosanoun1 a.
Xhosanoun1 b.
Any black inhabitant of South Africa.
An insulting and contemptuous term for a black African, or occasionally for any black person. Also attributive.
The Xhosa language.
Any (or all) of the Nguni languages (see Nguninoun2 a).
Any (or all) of the Sintu (Bantu) languages (see Sintu, Bantuadjective1). Also attributive.
a former name for fanakalo. Also attributive.
The black eagle, Aquila verreauxii.
As in general English: an infidel or unbeliever.
South African mining shares traded on the London Stock Exchange.
an armed, uniformed slave with various official duties, such as that of exciseman, peace-keeper, policeman, and executioner.
Of or pertaining to the black peoples of South Africa.
a spurious bargain.
Bad, inferior, unreliable; clumsy, inept.
to go nativeNativeadjective3.
Derivatives:
Hence kaffirdom noun; kaffirhood noun; kaffirish adjective, see quotation 1941; kaffirize transitive verb rare, also kaffirized participial adjective, of words, to render into a Xhosa or Zulu form; of people, to make inferior or subservient.
1858 B. Nicholson in J. Maclean Compendium of Kafir Laws (1906) 171A Kafirized form of some tribal name given by the Hottentots.
1860 W. Shaw Story of my Mission 452Dr. Colenso attempted to cut the knot of this difficulty by Kaffirizing the Latin name of God, and writing the word thus, ‘Udio’.
1877 J.A. Chalmers Tiyo Soga 435He was disposed to glory in his Kafirhood.
1891 T.R. Beattie Ride through Transkei 11The surroundings of Cala seem to make one forget that one is in the heart of Kafirdom, with barbarian life and customs all around.
1908 B. Blackburn Leaven (1991) 75The nature of the charge against him was known to every kafir in the jail before he had been there an hour, for news travels fast in kafirdom.
1941 W.M.B. Nhlapo in Bantu World 1 Mar. 9There is something kaffirish about our shows. No matter how stale and washed-out the programme, the audience will..still applaud with the same feverish enthusiasm.
1949 O. Walker Proud Zulu (1951) 250Natal’s determined policy of Kafirising the Zulu Nation and making of them a nation of servants and plantation workers.