Green’s Dictionary of Slang

kaffir adj.

also caffre, kaffer, kafir
[for ety. see kaffir n.]

1. [late 18C+] (S.Afr.) in combs. meaning of or pertaining to black people. Like nigger, Jewish, Chinese, Mexican etc, the term is used in a wide variety of combs., all of which are de facto insulting.

2. [1930s–60s] (S.Afr.) bad, unreliable.

In compounds

kaffir beer (n.)

[late 19C+] (S.Afr.) a drink made from fermented prickly pears and honey.

kaffir corn (n.)

[late 18C+] (S.Afr.) a form of sorghum.

kaffirmeid (n.)

[1960s+] (S.Afr.) an insulting form of address or reference to a black woman.

kaffir piano (n.)

[late 19C+] (S.Afr.) any of a number of multi-stringed wooden percussion instruments.

kaffir sheeting (n.)

[mid-19C+] (S.Afr.) a coarsely woven, thick cotton fabric used for clothes or cheap curtains.

kaffir taxi (n.) [1980s+] (S.Afr.)

1. a large (American model) but run-down car.

2. brandy plus Coca-Cola or some other sweet fizzy drink [? it ‘picks you up’].

kaffir tobacco (n.)

[1960s+] (S.Afr. drugs) marijuana [play on colonial era kaffir tobacco, second-rate and thus only good for blacks].