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Kafirs or Kaffirs (both: kăfˈərz) [key] [Arab., = infidel], name applied by European settlers to the Xhosa branch of the Bantu-speaking people of S Africa. Originally used only for the inhabitants of the Transkeian Territories (then called Kaffraria), the name came to be commonly employed as a derogatory term for all black Africans. The South African government encouraged use of the term Bantu rather than Kafir or native.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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