In Media


Saartje Baartman arrives in South Africa from France
Date: 03 May 2002

THE dissected and preserved remains of the so-called "Hottentot Venus" arrived in South Africa from France early Friday, nearly 200 years after the African woman was first put on display in Europe as a sexual freak.

The remains of Saartje Baartman, packed into a wooden case and loaded onto a South African plane, arrived in Johannesburg at about 7:00 am (0500 GMT) on Friday, public radio SABC reported.

Her remains will be transferred to Cape Town mid-morning, and on her birthday, August 9, a "small ceremony in her honour" will be held, said South African culture ministry official Vusithemba Ndima

Baartman was born in what is now South Africa in 1789. In 1810, a British ship's doctor took her to London, after convincing her that she could make a fortune there.

In Britain, she was paraded as a savage and forced to show off her protruding posterior and her outsized genitals.

After moving to Paris, Baartman drifted into prostitution and died in poverty in 1816. Following her death, her genitalia and brain were put on display until 1974.

The descendants of South Africa's Khoisan people demanded Baartman's return, making it a political, cultural and spiritual ambition, and a French act of parliament in February made the return possible. ? AFP

Home page