Discovering Little Paris - Kefir vs. Kaffir

The Americans have the ‘N-Word’.  In South Africa, we have the ‘K-Word’.  The word “kaffir” is a derogatory term used to refer to Black South Africans and it was widely used by the Boers during the time of Apartheid.

In 2011, I brought my second South African guest to Croatia.  At that time, Kefir yoghurt was unheard of in South Africa.  She opened the fridge and a big misunderstanding occurred.

She suggested that we try some of the ‘K-word’ in the fridge.  I couldn’t believe what I’d just heard, but it turned out that there wasn’t a mutilated corpse in the freezer.  Kefir, or as my friend refers to it ‘milk champagne’ is full of nutrients that help balance the bacteria in the body.  “Kaffir”, on the other hand, is a word full of anger and is often included in hate speech.  Rather than probiotics for your gut, you’ll get a kick in the guts if you use the word in the wrong context in South Africa.

Maja Dezulovic

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