'Kaffirs', Africa, 1774-1781.
3 2 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 24cm

'Kaffirs', Africa, 1774-1781.


© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


Engraving by Poison after a painting by Pierre Sonnerat (1748-1814), showing a family from what is now South Africa. The term 'Kaffir' was used to describe the indigenous people of the area, mainly Bantu or Xhosa, but was extremely offensive. Use of the term against a person is now legally actionable in South African courts. Illustration from Sonnerat's 'Voyage aux Indes Orientales et a la Chine, fait par ordre du roi, depuis 1774 jusqu'en 1781' ('Voyage to the East Indies and China, made by order of the king, from 1774 to 1781'), published in 1782.



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