Sarah Baartman a journey of agony that did not end with death

Sarah Baartman, The story of an African woman that took 200 years to end.

Jul 23, 2021 - 07:34
Jul 23, 2021 - 07:37
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Sarah Baartman a journey of agony that did not end with death
Sarah Baartman a journey of agony that did not end with death

Sarah Baartman, nicknamed "Sartje", was born in 1789 and its literal translation means "Little Sarah", which Africans use as a kind of endearment for a person and a sign of closeness to him and not an expression of small stature.
It belongs to one of the African tribes known as (Khoi Khoi), which is believed to have been the first tribes to inhabit South Africa in the Eastern Cape of South Africa on the banks of the Gamtoos River. It is generally believed that she was born in Gamtoos Valley, but moved there with her family only years after her birth.
Sarah Baartman worked as a maid for Dutch peasants at the age of twenty, and during her work, she caught the attention of a visiting British surgeon named William Dunlop. What caught his eye was the very large size of her buttocks, which the Khoi Khoi women are famous for, which is called steatopygia. Sarah agreed to travel with Dunlop to Britain after he promised her fame and fortune that she would go as a subject for research and anatomy because of her strange body shape.

Sarah went to London at the age of twenty-one in 1810 with her employer, a free black man named Hendrik Caesars, and William Dunlop, an English physician. who worked in a slave inn in the Cape. . Initially, she underwent a number of studies to dissect her foreign body. Sarah was performing at the Piccadilly Circus under the supervision of the 'Beasts' trainer. Viewers were allowed to touch her big butt in exchange for an increased ticket price. Hottentot is the term used by the Dutch to denote the African Khoisan tribe because of their strange language, which contains a lot of "crackling" in the tongue during words. In a narration, this word means "the stutterer". Sarah Baartman did not allow this last characteristic to appear throughout her life.

Work in the Piccadilly Circus

Sarah was forced to work in the circus and was shown completely naked, and she was forced to perform shows in which she appeared as a predator where she was ordered to sit and stand, and she was locked in a cage for predators and forced to dance to her jailers. Baartman was supposed to make half the income from her shows, but the truth is that she saw very little of it.

She attracted the attention of British abolitionists who argued that her performance was improper and that she was forced to perform against her will. People could see her for a fee, people could touch her for a fee, and people could touch her genitals and other parts of her body for a fee. Ultimately, the court ruled in favor of her gallery after Dunlop offered a contract between him and Bartman. The validity of this contract is doubtful: it may have been produced for trial purposes.
Cesar left the show and Dunlop continued to show Bartmann at country fairs. Bartman also moved to Manchester, where she was christened Sarah Bartman. In 1814, after Dunlop's death, a man named Henry Taylor brought Baartman to Paris. He sold it to an animal trainer, S. Reaux, who made it appeal to spectators who frequented the Palais-Royal. George Cuvier, founder, and professor of comparative anatomy at the Museum of Natural History examined Baartman as he searched for evidence of the so-called missing link between animals and humans. After being sold to S. Reaux she was raped and became pregnant by him. The baby was named Okurra Reaux, and she died at the age of five of an unknown disease.

Poverty and humiliation after death

Baartman lived in poverty and died in Paris of an unspecified inflammatory disease in December 1815. After her death, Cuvier dissected her body for comparative anatomy in an attempt to prove that she was more closely related to an ape, particularly the orangutan. In 1974, these remains were removed from the museum in Paris and placed in storage, and were completely forgotten. For more than a century and a half, visitors to the Museum of Man in Paris have been able to view her brain, skeleton, and reproductive organs as well as a plaster cast of her body.

قبر سارة بارتمن

Return to her hometown

But it seems that the African community has never forgotten. At that time, sporadic attempts to recover Sarah Bertman's remains appeared, but the first serious talks were in 1994 when Nelson Mandela took office where he held talks with the French government demanding the return of Sarah's body. Talks took too long. Her remains were returned to South Africa in 2002 and interred in the Eastern Cape on South African National Women's Day.
After nearly 200 years of alienation and humiliation, Sarah's remains were transported to Cape Airport, usually to her home village of Gamut, her birthplace, where her remains were buried covered with a South African flag. Her memorial service was on August 9, 2002, International Women's Day.
The European poet Diana Ferrus, originally from South Africa of the Khoisan tribe, wrote a poem called "Sartiji Bartman's Poem".

Julian Joseph Ferry used Sarah Baartman's published photo to validate racial patterns. In his article "Dictionnaire des sciences medicales", he summarizes the true nature of the black female within the framework of accepted medical discourse. Fairey focused on identifying her genitals as more developed and distinct than those of white females. All of his theories on sexual primitivism are influenced and supported by the anatomical studies and illustrations of Sarah Baartman created by Georges Cuvier. In cartoons and drawings, Baartman's features were often exaggerated to highlight her difference from European females.








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