Kaffir. Kaffer.Kafir.

Whichever way you spell it, black people in South Africa still find that word offensive. 


Originally an Arabic term meaning "disbeliever" or "one without religion", the word has evolved into hate speech. As controversial as the term "nigger" in America, the word causes much debate. In one of Trevor Noah's comedic shows, "Thats's So Racist", he candidly speaks about reducing the word's power over us. He says we should change the meaning. Instead of it being a negative and derogatory term, we could use it as a term for "awesome". The question is, are black people willing to forget the negative connotations linked to that word?

Just this morning there was a debate in my department among myself and my white colleagues about whether or not that word is indeed "racist". They referred to the derivative term and that in itself, is not racist. This is the age old argument. Just how white Americans always argue that black Americans use the word "nigger" loosely among themselves but as soon as a white person says it then they get offended. Of course, they do! Such words are usually said with hatred and belittling that one would feel offended. Also, white people cannot expect blacks to forget what that word embodies. The history behind it. I grew up going to multiracial schools and often heard my white friends' parents, in a bout of road rage against taxi drivers' careless overtaking on the road, use that word to express their anger. Then after realizing that I'm sitting in the car, sheepishly say "Oh sorry sweetie. I didn't mean that to offend you." Uuuhhhmm okay.... Then how exactly did you mean it? 

There is this "Get over it" mentality among white people that sometimes irks me. How do you expect people to just simply "get over" years of oppression and injustice in a matter of 20 years or so. Especially seeing as no real corrective action was taken. It really pains me when I hear some white person tell me to "get over" Apartheid because I was not present and that it has been over since 1992. Is it? Really? The fact that there are people still trying to justify these words proves that they still do not understand the immensity of the segregation issue, I mean - why should they? The "Rainbow Nation" philosophy that Mandela had is flawed and was just a way to make white people tolerate us for the sake of peace. No real reform was done, they simply got off quite easily. Think about it.

Now back to the main subject of this whole article, should black people still be offended by the word "kaffir"? Yes, they should. They have the right to. Let them deal with their issues and heal in their own time. Do not force them to tolerate anymore pain and suffering. If the word does not offend you then good for you. We are all entitled to our feelings. Just allow! 

Published by TeeCee Mbaxa