The Kaffir in Sri Lanka: A Partial Bibliography from Thuppahi

Michael Roberts 

The first two photographs provide just a glimpse of their ‘markings’; while the map composed I think by Shihan de Silva Jayasuriya indicates the long history of African migratory flows (sometimes as slaves) to Asian lands.




















A LISTING of ITEMS in Thuppahi

Shihan De Silva Jayasuriya’s Wide-ranging Work on Portuguese Creole and the Kaffir

THESE REFERENCES and the illustrative photographs should be considered with due attention to the literature in English, Sinhala and Tamil that refers to the kaaberi or kaffir. Let me indicate a few such sources, while inviting Shihan and other scholars to send me other references in any language so that this site can provide an amplified bibliography on the topic.

Hugh Nevill: Sinhala Verse, Vol. 1, ed. By PEP Deraniyagala, Colombo, Govt Press, 1954, espec. “Kaaberi Kataawe” …. P. 132.

Hugh Nevill: Sinhala Verse, Vol. 3, ed. By PEP Deraniyagala, Colombo, Govt Press, 1955, espec. “Kappili Hatane” …p. 206.

Again, there is detailed material on what we can term “the kaaberi factor” in the history of Sri Lanka in colonial times within the pages of my book Sinhala Consciousness in the Kandyan Period, 1590s to 1815, Colombo, Vijitha Yapa Publications, 2004, where the INDEX indicates these details”

Kaberi: viii, 17, 95, 126-7, 136, 220z, 236z, 238x

Kaffirs: 42, 86, 94, 95, 103, 110, 126-8, 158-9, 231z, … as cannibals: 127;

Blacks: 46, 86, 94-5, 102-3, 110, 120, 126-7


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One response to “The Kaffir in Sri Lanka: A Partial Bibliography from Thuppahi

  1. EMAIL NOTE in Comment from Patrick andenbruaene in Colombo, Eary December 2022:
    “Dear Michael, …………Thank you for sharing. When I met some of these people, they indicated that they do not like to be labeled “Kaffir” they like to be called Afro-Ceylanese. As indicated on the net: The term Kaffir is often translated as “infidel”, “pagan”, “rejector”, “denier”, “disbeliever”, “unbeliever”, “nonbeliever”, and “non-Muslim”. The term is used in different ways in the Quran, with the most fundamental sense being “ungrateful” (toward God).
    Best regards,”

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