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Kaffir, Nigger, Moffie, Bitch and other “reclamations”

I was watching a music video by a hip-hop artist and wondered how the comparison between reclamations has never struck me before.

Just to get them out of the way now: “Kaffir” is a derogatory term for black people in South Africa. “Moffie” is the Afrikaans version of “faggot”. “Poes” is our version of “cunt”.

I typed this and was too scared to post it due to all the ‘bad’ words. It also seemed very fragmented and incomplete. Then two things happened. Today, 11 September, @fOrestIsSurreal tweeted this: “Since we have adapted to calling friends “my niggah/nigga/nigger” we might as well adapt to saying “my kaffir”…”.

Harsh hey?

I also attended the Nandos Comedy Festival last week. It was highly entertaining. But there was a moment that got me thinking. The (American) host sang a song about a guy going for a girl and finding out later that she is a guy. Nothing original, but he used the word “moffie”. He is not from this country, but used the word as if it were nothing.

Would this have been acceptable if he had said “faggot”?


What sparked my [original] thinking was the use of the word “nigger” and how freely these people use this word in their art. But what about the history of it?

I am going to talk about the term “coloured” in a later post too (the South African version, because in America this is apparently taboo). In the meanwhile, I want you to consider things before uttering them. And also about the degrees of comparison with certain terms.

Why do we then have shades of offense? Non-black people (with the notable exception of a few) cower at these words, yet revel in the ones related to them.

Again, I don’t claim to be perfect because I call friends “bitch” and “moffie”. Does this then reclaim these words or give permission for subjugation and oppression? How much are we really freeing ourselves by using these words?

Not much, according to me, without the correct amount of consciousness and conversation. We do not consider these words. Instead we throw around the words “reclamation” and “freedom” and use them conveniently to our advantage.

I’ve never thought of it before, but why do South African artists don’t refer to themselves as “hey my kaffir” in a friendly way the way people use “nigger”?

Oprah had an issue with this with hip-hop artists and even confronted Jay-Z about it when she interviewed him.

Women who call each other “bitch” in an apparently affectionate way, use this same term to demean other women. But then how can you even get upset when the master/colonizer (your man) refers to you as such?

<p>Author <a href=”https://plus.google.com/102128103971030481396” target=”blank” rel=”author”>Jerome Cornelius</a></p>

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