Historians say that the Kaffirs of Sri Lanka started arriving from the eastern shores of Africa in the 1500s with the Portuguese, and later in more waves with the different colonisers of Sri Lanka.
'Kaffir culture' is a video portrait of one such community of Kaffirs and the struggle to keep their culture alive in the face of falling numbers.
Written and produced by Kannan Arunasalam
Although the label ”Kaffir” has been used as a derogatory term towards people of African origin, the ”Kaffirs of Sri Lanka” used the term to describe themselves. (See ”Where Kaffir is no insult”, telegraph.co.uk/expat/expatnews/6613354/Where-kaffir-is-no-insult.html, The Telegraph, 20 November 2009). More recently, and after the film was released, the Kaffirs have begun to refer to themselves as ”Sri Lankan Africans” and taking steps to change the official description of their racial origin.
Music by Ceylon Kaffir Manja, arranged by Jesse Hardman.
Special thanks to Sweta Velpillay (on sound), Nethra Samarawickrema (for help with translations), Leah Worthington (background research) and Greg Kelly (Radio Netherlands).