views updated

Kafirs or Kaffirs (both: kăf´ərz) [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.