In Réunion, contrary to other countries or regions of the south-west of the Indian Ocean, the term is in common use. It means "any individual whose phenotype goes back more or less to African and slave Malagasy origins, as described by the sociologist Paul Mayoka in his essay "The image of the cafre". The term is also used to mean ethnic groups of Southeast African origin from where slaves came.
The term is also used in the phrase 'fête des Cafres'. This is one of the names given to the annual celebration of the abolition of slavery on the island on 20 December 1848.