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Africans in Sri Lanka

African Sri Lankans
Total population
Few thousand (2005)[1]
~1,000 (2009)[2]
Regions with significant populations
 Sri Lanka~1,000[2]
Sri Lanka Kaffir language, Sinhala, Tamil language, Sri Lankan Portuguese Creole
Originally Sunni Islam
Roman Catholicism and Buddhism
Related ethnic groups
Demographics of Mozambique, Burgher people, Sinhalese, Sri Lankan Tamils

African Sri Lankans, mainly the Sri Lanka Kaffirs, are a very small Ethnic group in Sri Lanka who are descendants of African mercenaries, musicians, and labourers taken to what is now Sri Lanka by Portuguese colonists during the period of Portuguese colonial rule on the island.[3] There are currently around 1000 African Sri Lankans. They live in pockets of communities along the island's coastal regions of Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Negombo. The Portuguese colonists used them to fight the Ceylonese Kings.[4]

The main African Sri Lankans are known as Kaffirs. This term is not used as a racial pejorative as in other parts of the world. Some were originally Muslims, while others practiced African religions, but many have now converted to Catholicism and Buddhism. They speak a lyrical creole language with a mix of native Sinhalese and Tamil.


Sri Lanka Kaffirs

The Sri Lankan Kaffirs are an ethnic group in Sri Lanka who are partially descended from 16th century Portuguese traders and the Africans who were brought by them to work as labourers and soldiers to fight against the Sri Lankan kings.[5]

See also


  1. ^ "WWW Virtual Library Sri Lanka : Kaffirs in Sri Lanka - Descendants of enslaved Africans". 2005-07-10. Retrieved 2015-02-18.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-01-06. Retrieved 2010-10-31.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ Jayasuriya, Shihan de Silva. "The Portuguese Identity of the Afro-Sri Lankans". Open Edition Journals. University of London. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  4. ^ "Sri Lanka's African families fade away". Retrieved 2009-11-28.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Sunday Observer Magazine | - Sri Lanka". 2009-07-26. Archived from the original on 2015-02-18. Retrieved 2015-02-18.

External links

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