Online Encyclopedia

KAFFIRS (Arabic Kafir, an unbeliever)

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V15, Page 629 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: del.icio.us del.icio.us it!

KAFFIRS (Arabic Kafir, an unbeliever)  , a name given by the
See also:
Arabs to the native races of the east coast of Africa . The
See also:
term was current along the east coast at the arrival of the Portuguese, and passed from them to the Dutch and
See also:
English, and to the natives themselves under the form of Kafula . There are no general or collective
See also:
national names for these peoples, and the various tribal divisions are mostly designated by
See also:
historical or legendary chiefs, founders of dynasties or hereditary chieftaincies . The term has no real ethnological value, for the Kaffirs have no national unity . To-day it is used to describe that large
See also:
family of
See also:
Bantu negroes inhabiting the greater
See also:
part of the Cape, the whole of
See also:
Natal and
See also:
Zululand, and the Portuguese dominions on the east coast south of the
See also:
Zambezi . The name is also loosely applied to any negro inhabitant of South Africa . For example, the
See also:
Bechuana of the
See also:
Transvaal and Orange
See also:
Free State are usually called Kaffirs . The Kaffirs are divisible into two
See also:
great branches: the Ama-Zulu with the Ama-Swazi and Ama-Tonga and the Kaffirs proper, represented by the Ama-Xosa, the Tembu (q.v.) and the
See also:
Pondo (q.v.) . Hence the compound term Zulu-Kaffir applied in a collective sense to all the Kaffir peoples . Intermediate between these two branches were several broken tribes now collectively known as Ama-Fengu, i.e . " wanderers " or " needy "
See also:
people, from fenguza, to seek service' . (see FINGO) .

The ramifications of the Kaffirs proper cannot be understood without reference to the national genealogies, most of the tribal names, as already stated, being those of real or reputed founders of dynasties . Thus the term Ama-Xosa means simply the " people of Xosa," a somewhat mythical

chief supposed to have flourished about the
See also:
year 1530 . Ninth in descent from his son Toguh was Palo, who died about 1780, leaving two sons, Gcaleka and Rarabe (pronounced Kha-Kha-be), from whom came the Ama-Gcaleka, Ama-Dhlambe (T'slambies) and the Ama-Ngquika (Gaika or Sandili's people) . The Pondo do not descend from Xosa, but probably from an elder
See also:
brother, while the Tembu, though apparently representing a younger branch, are regarded by all the Kaffir tribes as the royal
See also:
race . Hence the Gcaleka chief, who is the head of all 1 The Ama-Fengu are regarded both by the Zulu and Ama-Xosa as slaves or out-castes, without any right to the privileges of true-born Kaffirs . Any tribes which become broken and mixed would probably be regarded as Ama-Fengu by the other Kaffirs . Hence the multiplicity of clans, such as the Ama-Bele,
See also:
Aba-Sembotweni Ama-Zizi . Ama-Kuze, Aba-Sekunene, Ama-Ntokaze, Ama-Tetyeni Aba-Shwawa, &c., all of whom are collectively grouped as Ama-Fengu . the Ama-Xosa tribes, always takes his first or " great wife " from the Tembu royal family, and her issue alone have any claim to the succession . The subjoined genealogical tree will place Kaffir relations in a clearer
See also:
light : — Zuide (1500?), reputed founder of the nation . f Tern' bu . Xosa (1530?) .

Mpondo . I I Ama-Tembu Toguh . Ama-MI pondu- (Tambookies), Ama-MI ponda, Tembuland Palo (ob . 1780?), between

See also:
river
See also:
miss and Emigrant loth in descent Umtata and Tembuland. from Xosa . Natal .. Abelungu (dispersed?) I I Gcaleka . Rarabe (Khakhabe) . Klanta . Hinza . Omlao . Mbalu . Ndhl, mbe Kreli .

Nggika . Ama-Mbalus . Ama-Ndhlambes Ama-Gwali. or T'slambies, Ama-Gcaleka

See also:
Malmo Ama-Ntinde. between the (Galeka), I Ama-Gqunuk- Keiskamma and between the Tyali. webi . Great Kei rivers . Bashee and Ama-Velelo . Umtata rivers . Sandili . Ama-Baxa . Imi-Dange . Ama-Ngqika Imi-Dushane . (Gaika), Amatola highlands . Ama-Khakhabe .

Ama-Xosa . It will be seen that, as representing the elder branch, the Gcaleka stand apart from the

rest of Xosa's descendants, whom they
See also:
group collectively as Ama- Rarabe (Ama-Khakhabe), and whose genealogies, except in the case of the Gaikas and T'slambies, are very confused . The Ama-Xosa country lies mainly between the Keiskama and Umtata rivers . The Zulu call themselves Abantu ba-Kwa-Zulu, i.e . " people of Zulu's
See also:
land," or briefly Bakwa-Zulu, from a legendary chief Zulu, founder of the royal dynasty . They were originally an obscure tribe occupying the basin of the Umfolosi river, but rose suddenly to power under Chaka,1 who had been brought up among the neighbouring and powerful Umtetwas, and who succeeded the chiefs of that tribe and of his own in the beginning of the 19th century . But the true
See also:
mother tribe seems to have been the
See also:
extinct Ama-Ntombela, whence the Ama-Tefulu, the U'ndwande, U'mlelas, U'mtetwas and many others, all absorbed or claiming to be true Zulus . But they are only so by
See also:
political subjection, and the gradual adoption of the Zulu dress, usages and speech . Hence in most cases the term Zulu implies political rather than
See also:
blood relationship . This remark applies also to the followers of Mosilikatze (properly Umsilikazi), who, after a fierce struggle with the Bechuana, founded about 182o a second Zulu state about the head waters of the Orange river . In 1837 most of them were driven northwards by the Boers and are now known as Matabele . The origin of the Zulu-Kaffir race has given rise to much controversy .

It is obvious that they are not the

See also:
aborigines of their
See also:
present domain, whence in comparatively
See also:
recent times—since the beginning of the 16th century—they have displaced the
See also:
Hottentots and Bushmen of fundamentally distinct stock . They themselves are conscious of their
See also:
foreign origin . Yet they are closely allied in speech (see BANTU
See also:
LANGUAGES) and physique to the surrounding Basuto, Bechuana and other members of the great South
See also:
African
See also:
Negroid family . Hence their appearance in the south-east corner of the continent is sufficiently explained by the gradual onward
See also:
movement of the populations pressing southward on the Hottentot and Bushman domain . The specific differences in speech and appearance by which they are distinguished from the other branches of the family must in the same way be explained by the altered conditions of their new habitat . Hence it is that the farther they have penetrated southwards the farther have they become differentiated from the pure Negro type . Thus the light and clear brown complexion Seventh in descent from Zulu, through Kumede, Makeba, Punga, Ndaba, Yama and Tezengakona or Senzangakona (Bleek, Zulu Legends).prevalent amongst the
See also:
southern Tembu becomes gradually darker as we proceed northwards, .passing at last to the blue-black and sepia of the Ama-Swazi and Tekeza . Even many of the mixed Fingo tribes are of a polished ebony colour, like that of the Jolofs and other Senegambian negroes . The Kaffir hair is uniformly of a woolly texture . The head is dolichocephalic, but it is also high or long vertically,2 and it is in this feature of hypsistenocephaly (height and length combined) that the Kaffir presents the most striking contrast with the pure Negro . But, the nose being generally rather broad' and the lips thick, the Kaffir face, though somewhat oval, is never
See also:
regular in the
See also:
European sense, the deviations being normally in the direction of the Negro, with which race the
See also:
peculiar odour of the skin again connects the Kaffirs . In stature they rank next to the Patagonians, Polynesians and West Africans, averaging from 5 ft. g in. to 5 ft .

11 in., and even 6 ft.' They are slim, well-proportioned and

See also:
muscular . Owing to the hard
See also:
life they lead, the
See also:
women are generally inferior in appearance to the men, except amongst the Zulu, and especially the Tembu . Hence in the matrimonial market, while the Ama-Xosa girl realizes no more than ten or twelve head of cattle, the Tembu belle fetches as many as
See also:
forty, and if especially
See also:
fine even eighty . The more warlike tribes were usually arrayed in
See also:
leopard or ox skins, of
See also:
late years generally replaced by European blankets, with feather head-dresses,
See also:
coral and metal ornaments,
See also:
bead armlets and necklaces . The Makua and a few others practise tattooing, and the Ama-Xosa are fond of
See also:
painting or smearing their bodies with red ochre . Their arms consist chiefly of ox-hide shields 4 to 6 ft. long, the kerrie or club, and the assegai, of which there are two kinds, one long, with 9-in. narrow blade, for throwing, the other short, with broad blade 12 to 18 in. long, for stabbing . The dwellings are
See also:
simple conical huts grouped in kraals or villages . Although cattle form their chief
See also:
wealth, and hunting and stock-breeding their main pursuits, many have turned to husbandry . The Zulu raise regular crops of " mealies " (maize), and the Pondo cultivate a
See also:
species of millet,
See also:
tobacco,
See also:
water melons, yams and other vegetables . Milk (never taken fresh), millet and maize form the staples of food, and
See also:
meat is seldom eaten except in time of war . A young Kaffir attains man's estate socially, not at puberty, but upon his
See also:
marriage . Polygyny is the
See also:
rule and each wife is regarded as adding dignity to the household .

Marriage is by

See also:
purchase, the price being paid in cattle . Upon the
See also:
husband's
See also:
death family life 1s continued under the headship of the eldest son of the house, the widows by virtue of levirate becoming the
See also:
property of the
See also:
uncle or nearest
See also:
males, not sons . A son inherits and honourably liquidates, if he can, his
See also:
father's debts . Mentally the Kaffirs are
See also:
superior to the Negro . In their social and political relations they display great tact and intelligence; they are remarkably brave, warlike and hospitable, and were honest and truthful until through contact with the whites they became suspicious, revengeful and thievish, besides acquiring most European vices . Of religion as ordinarily understood they have very little, and have certainly never
See also:
developed any mythologies or dogmatic systems . It is more than doubtful whether they had originally formed any notion of a Supreme Being . Some conception, however, of a future state is implied by a strongly developed worship of ancestry, and by a belief in
See also:
spirits and ghosts to whom sacrifices are made . There are no idols or priests, but belief in
See also:
witchcraft formerly gave the "
See also:
witch-doctor " or
See also:
medicine-man overwhelming power.' Circumcision and polygyny are universal; the former is sometimes attributed to
See also:
Mahommedan influences, but has really prevailed almost everywhere in East Africa from the remotest time . Dearer than anything else to the Kaffir are his cattle; and many ceremonial observances in connexion with them were once the rule . Formerly ox-racing was a
See also:
common sport, the oxen
See also:
running, riderless, over a .ten-mile course . The owner of a champion racing ox was a popular hero, and these racers were valued at hundreds of head of cattle .

Cattle are the currency of the Kaffirs in their

wild state . Ten to twenty head are the price of a wife . When a girl marries, 2 P . Topinard, Anthropology (1878), p . 274 . This feature varies considerably, " in the T'slambie tribes being broader and more of the Negro shape than in the Gaika or Gcaleka, while among the Ama-Tembu and Ama-Mpondo it assumes more of the European character . In many of them the perfect Grecian and
See also:
Roman noses are discernible " (Fleming's
See also:
Kaffraria, p . 92) . Gustav Fritsch gives the mean of the Ama-Xosa as 1.718 metres, less than that of the
See also:
Guinea Negro (1.724), but more than the English (1.708) and Scotch (1.710) . ' Since the early years of the 19th century
See also:
Protestant and Roman Catholic missions have gained hundreds of thousands of converts among the Kaffirs . Purely native Christian churches have also been organized . her father (if well off) presents her with a cow from his herd .

This

animal is called ubulungu or " doer of good " and is regarded as sacred . It must never be killed nor may its descendants, as long as it lives . A hair of its tail is tied round the neck of each child immediately after birth . In large kraals there is the " dancing-ox," usually of red colour . Its horns are trained to peculiar shapes by early mutilations . It figures in many ceremonies when it is paid a kind of knee-worship . The Kaffirs have three, not four, seasons: " Green Heads," " Kindness " and " Cutting "; the first and last referring to the crops, the second to the " warm weather." Women and children only eat after the men are satisfied . A light
See also:
beer made from
See also:
sorghum is the national drink . Of the few
See also:
industries the chief are copper and iron smelting, practised by the Tembu, Zulu and Swazi, who manufacture weapons, spoons and agricultural implements both for their own use and for trade . The Swazi display some taste in wood-
See also:
carving, and others prepare a peculiar water-tight vessel of grass . Characteristic of this race is their neglect of the
See also:
art of navigation . Not the smallest boats are ever made for
See also:
crossing the rivers, much less for venturing on the sea, except by the Makazana of Delagoa
See also:
Bay and by the Zambezi people, who have canoes and flat-bottomed boats made of planks .

The Kaffir race had a distinct and apparently very old political

See also:
system, which may be described as a patriarchal monarchy limited by a powerful aristocracy . Under
See also:
British rule the tribal independence of the Kaffirs has disappeared . Varying degrees of autonomy have been granted, but the supreme powers of the chiefs have gone, the Swazi being in 1904 the last to be brought to order . In the Transkeian Territories tribal organization exists, but it is modified by
See also:
special legislation and the natives are under the control of special magistrates . To a considerable extent in Natal and through-out Zululand the Kaffirs are placed in reserves, where tribal organization is kept up under European supervision . In Basuto-land the tribal organization is very strong, and the power of chiefs is upheld by the imperial government, which exercises general supervision . See Gustav Fritsch, Die Eingeborenen Sd dafrikas, with
See also:
atlas, 30 plates and 120 typical heads (Breslau, 1872) ; W . H . I . Bleek,
See also:
Comparative Grammar of the South African Languages (
See also:
London and Cape
See also:
Town, pt. i., 1862; pt. ii., 1869); Theo . Hahn, Grundzuge einer Grammatik
See also:
des Herero (Berlin, 1857); Dr Colenso, Grammar of the Zulu-Kafir Language (1855) ; Girard de Rialle,
See also:
Les Peuples de l'Afrique et de l'Amerique (Paris, 1880); G . W .

Stow, The Native Races of South Africa (London, 1905); G . McC . Theal,
See also:
History and Ethnography of South Africa, 15os to 1795 (3 vols., London, 1907—1910) and History of South Africa since 1795 (5 vols., London, 1908), specially valuable for the political history of the Kaffirs; Caesar C . Henkel, The Native or Transkeian Territories (
See also:
Hamburg, 1903); The Natives of South Africa (1901), and its sequel, The South African Natives (1908); Dudley Kidd, The Essential Kafir (1904) and Kafir
See also:
Socialism . The last four books
See also:
deal with the many social and economic questions raised by the contact of the Kaffir races with Europeans .

End of Article: KAFFIRS (Arabic Kafir, an unbeliever)
[back]
KAFFIR BREAD
[next]
KAFFRARIA

Additional information and Comments

This entry is completely racist.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.