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Title: Cafres  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Ethnic groups in Réunion, Demographics of Réunion, European diaspora, Multiracial
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Cafres or Kafs are people born in Réunion of Malagasy and/or African origins.[1] They often have mixed origins.[2]


  • Use of the Term 1
  • Origins 2
  • Religion 3
  • References 4

Use of the Term

In Réunion, contrary to other countries or regions of the south-west of the Indian Ocean, the term is in common use. It means "any individual whose phenotype goes back more or less to African and slave Malagasy origins, as described by the sociologist Paul Mayoka in his essay "The image of the cafre".[3][4] The term is also used to mean ethnic groups of Southeast African origin from where slaves came.[5]

The term is also used in the phrase 'fête des Cafres'. This is one of the names given to the annual celebration of the abolition of slavery on the island on 20 December 1848.[6]


The ancestors of the cafres were slaves[1] brought from Africa and Madagascar to work the sugar plantations; these were the first slaves to be introduced to the Mascarene Islands. The slaves came from Mozambique, Guinea, Senegal and Madagascar.[2] Most trace their roots to Madagascar and East Africa (Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia) although some descended from runaways from European pirate ships.


The cafres are mostly Christian.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Medea, Laurent (2002). "Creolisation and Globalisation in a Neo-Colonial Context: the Case of Réunion". Social Identities 8 (1): 125–141.  
  2. ^ a b Yu-Sion, Live (July–August 2003), "Illusion identitaire et métissage culturel chez les "Sinoi" de la Réunion", Perspectives chinoises (78),  
  3. ^ Mayoka, Paul (1997). L'image du Cafre. Saint-Denis: Publications Hibiscus. pp. 12–13.  
  4. ^ see also: the article CAFRE, cafrine of the lexicon which appears in Beniamino, Michel (1996). Le français de La Réunion. Vanves: EDICEF.  
  5. ^
  6. ^ Esther, Martine. Les Damnés des tropiques. Editions Publibook. p. 105.  

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