ottarrus said:I talked to Colin about this when I was still on FB.
The name was changed because 'kafer' and 'kaffir' had nearly the same pronunciation and the latter had a very bad colonial racist connotation. Not quite as bad as the US 'nigger', about the same level as 'darky' or 'field hand'. And the term was pretty wide spread... the Germans, Belgians, South Africans all used it.
The actual etymology of the South African slur - and it is just as bad as saying ‘nigger’ in South Africa today - is different from the German word for bug/beetle. It stems from Arabic and means ‘infidel’ basically, but was adopted by colonists of various nations over time (probably via the slave trade).