- Saartjie Baartman
Saartjie "Sarah" Baartman (
1789– December 29, 1815) was the most famous of at least two Khoikhoiwomen who were exhibited as sideshowattractions in 19th century Europe under the name Hottentot Venus—"Hottentot" as the then-current name for the Khoi people, now considered an offensive term, and "Venus" in reference to the Venus figurines.
Saartjie Baartman was born to a
Khoisanfamily in the vicinity of the Gamtoos Riverin what is now the Eastern Capeof South Africa. She was orphaned in a commandoraid. Saartjie, pronounced "Sahr-key", is the Afrikaansform of her name; it translates to English as "Little Sarah", where the use of the diminutiveform commonly indicates familiarity or endearment rather than a literally short stature. Her original name is unknown.
Baartman was a slave [ [http://www.salon.com/books/review/2007/01/09/holmes/index_np.html Venus abused | Salon Books ] ] [ [http://www.nathanielturner.com/sarastory.htm Sara Story ] ] [ [http://www.southafrica.info/ess_info/sa_glance/history/saartjie.htm Sarah Baartman, at rest at last - SouthAfrica.info ] ] of Dutch farmers near
Cape Townwhen Hendrick Cezar, the brother of her slave owner, suggested that she travel to Englandfor exhibition, promising her that she would become wealthy. Lord Caledon, governor of the Cape, gave permission for the trip, but later regretted it after he fully learned its purpose. She left for Londonin 1810.
Saartjie was exhibited around Britain, showing what to Europeans were highly unusual bodily features. Due to her
steatopygia, she had inordinately large buttocks; in addition, she had "sinus pudoris", otherwise known as the "tablier" (the French word for "apron") or "curtain of shame", all names for the elongated labiaof some Khoisan women. (Although "sinus pudoris" refers only to the labia of Khoisan woman, all labia vary in size and shape to some degree.) To quote Stephen Jay Gould, "The labia minora, or inner lips, of the ordinary female genitalia are greatly enlarged in Khoi-San women, and may hang down three or four inches below the vaginawhen women stand, thus giving the impression of a separate and enveloping curtain of skin". [Gould, 1985] Saartjie never allowed this trait to be exhibited while she was alive. (Strother 1999) ]
Her exhibition in London, scant years after the passing of the
Slave Trade Act 1807, created a scandal. An abolitionist benevolent society called the African Association, the equivalent of a charity or pressure group, petitioned for her release. Baartman was questioned before a court in Dutch, in which she was fluent, and stated that she was not under restraint and understood perfectly that she was guaranteed half of the profits. The conditions under which she made these statements are suspect, because it directly contradicts accounts of her exhibitions made by Zachary Macaulay of the African Institution and other eyewitnesses.
Baartman later traveled to Napoleonic
Pariswhere an animal trainer exhibited her under more pressured conditions for fifteen months. French anatomist Georges Cuvierand French naturalists visited her and she was the subject of several scientific paintings at the Jardin du Roy.
She died on
December 29, 1815of an inflammatory ailment, possibly smallpox, while other sources suggest she contracted pneumonia. An autopsywas conducted, and published by French anatomist Henri Marie Ducrotay de Blainvillein 1816 and by Cuvier in the "Memoires du Museum d'Histoire Naturelle" in 1817. Cuvier notes in his monographthat Baartman was an intelligent woman who had an excellent memory and spoke Dutch fluently. Her skeleton, preserved genitalsand brainwere placed on display in Paris' Musée de l'HommeHal Morgan and Kerry Tucker. "Rumor!" Fairfield, Pennsylvania: Penguin Books, 1984, p. 29.] until 1974, when they were removed from public view and stored out of sight; A molded casting was still shown for the following two years.
There were sporadic calls for the return of her remains beginning in the 1940s but the case became prominent only after U.S. biologist
Stephen Jay Gouldpublished an account, "The Hottentot Venus", in the 1980s. When Nelson Mandelabecame president of South Africain 1994, he formally requested that Francereturn the remains. After much legal wrangling and debates in the French National Assembly, France acceded to the request on 6 March 2002. Her remains were repatriated to her homeland, the Gamtoos Valley, on 6 May 2002, over 200 years after her birth.fact|date=April 2008
Baartman became an icon in South Africa as representative of many aspects of the nation's history. The Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children, [ [http://www.saartjiebaartmancentre.org.za/about_us_history.php] ] a refuge for survivors of
domestic violence, opened in Cape Townin 1999. South Africa's first offshore environmental protection vessel is named after Sarah Baartman.
M.K. Asante, Jr.wrote "Ghetto Booty: The Hottentot Remix" for Saartjie Baartman in his 2005 book "Beautiful. And Ugly Too". The poem tells Baartman's story and warns the hip hop generation not to repeat racist cycles of black female exploitation.
Dame Edith Sitwellallusively referred to her in "Hornpipe", a poem in the satirical collection "Facade". [ [http://www.williamwalton.net/works/vocal/facade/hornpipe.html Walton: 'Hornpipe' from Facade ] ]
*Diana Ferrus, a South African poet of Khoisan descent, wrote "A Poem for Sarah Baartman" while studying in Europe. It includes the desire "to wrench [her] away-/ away from the poking eyes... ."
*Poet Elizabeth Alexander explores her story in a 1987 poem and 1990 book, both entitled "The Venus Hottentot".
science fictionauthor Paul Di Filippoused her story as the basis for the second novel of his " SteampunkTrilogy".
Barbara Chase-Riboudwrote a fictional biography entitled "Hottentot Venus".
* Her life features in the 2007
Afrikaansromantic novel "Frats" by Chris Karsten.
Suzan-Lori Parksfictionalizes her story in "Venus". Playwright Lydia R. Diamond's play "Voyeurs de Venus" also examines her story through the guise of 20th century author.
* In 2006, a feminist artist and filmmaker adopted the name Venus Hottentot to direct an independent film with erotic content called "
Afrodite Superstar" with the intention of reclaiming the strength and voice of Sarah Baartman as a sexually exploited woman of color.
performance artist Mara Vernacreated a web-based project and travelling exhibition cataloguing her story. [ [http://www.hottentotvenus.com/index2.htm Hottentot Venus ] ]
Joyce Carol Oatesuses the image and the story of the Hottentot Venus in her 2006 novel " Black Girl/White Girl".
* Crais, Clifton and Pamela Scully (2008). Sara Baartman and the Hottentot Venus: A Ghost Story and a Biography. Princeton, Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-13580-9
* Gilman, Sander L. (1985). "Black Bodies, White Bodies: Toward an Iconography of Female Sexuality in Late Nineteenth-Century Art, Medicine, and Literature". In Gates, Henry (Ed.) "Race, Writing and Difference" 223-261. Chicago, University of Chicago Press.
* Gould, Stephen Jay (1985). "The Hottentot Venus". In "The Flamingo's Smile", 291-305. New York, W.W. Norton and Company. ISBN 0-393-30375-6.
* Holmes, Rachel (2006). "The Hottentot Venus". Bloomsbury, Random House. ISBN 0-7475-7776-5, ISBN 1400061369 (U. S. edition).
* Strother, Z.S. (1999). "Display of the Body Hottentot", in Lindfors, B., (ed.), "Africans on Stage: Studies in Ethnological Show Business". Bloomington, Indiana, Indiana University Press: 1-55.
* Qureshi, Sadiah (2004), 'Displaying Sara Baartman, the 'Hottentot Venus', "History of Science" 42:233-257. Available online at http://www.shpltd.co.uk/qureshi-baartman.pdf [http://www.shpltd.co.uk/qureshi-baartman.pdf] .
* [http://www.southafrica.info/ess_info/sa_glance/history/saartjie.htm South Africa government site about her, including Diana Ferrus's pivotal poem]
* [http://www.english.emory.edu/Bahri/Hott.html A French print]
* [http://www.hottentotvenus.com/index2.htm Mara Verna's interactive audio and video piece including a bibliography]
* [http://education.guardian.co.uk/higher/worldwide/story/0,,653760,00.html Guardian article on the return of her remains]
* [http://www.frif.com/new99/hottento.html A documentary film called "The Life and Times of Sara Baartman" by Zola Maseko]
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Saartjie Baartman — Sarah Baartman (* etwa 1789 am Gamtoos River, Südafrika; † 29. Dezember 1815 in Paris) gelangte als Hottentot Venus, französisch Vénus hottentote, in Europa zu Weltruhm. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Biographie 1.1 Herkunft 1.2 London 1.3 Englische… … Deutsch Wikipedia
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Sara Baartman — Sarah Baartman (* etwa 1789 am Gamtoos River, Südafrika; † 29. Dezember 1815 in Paris) gelangte als Hottentot Venus, französisch Vénus hottentote, in Europa zu Weltruhm. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Biographie 1.1 Herkunft 1.2 London 1.3 Englische… … Deutsch Wikipedia
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