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IN History & Culture ON 31 Jan, 2016
During the 19th century, when White people sought out the right of ruling the black people, South Africans became the victim of slave trading. Saartjie Baartman, a young woman with large buttocks, was also one of the victims of this inhumane act. She was sold to Europeans due to her rarely seen body shape. She was forced to display herself and especially her huge buttocks in circuses to entertain white people. She was insulted for being a black woman and in her entire life, she was pressurized to do what she had never expected from herself.
One midnight while surfing the Internet I got to read about the struggling life story of the black woman, who was punished all her life for none of her mistakes. I thought it to share with people, as a tiny part of the world knows about it.
Let's go through the story to find out more about Saartjie Baartman.
She was nicknamed as Hottentot Venus for having super large buttocks naturally. Hottentot was used to refer Khoi people, which was certainly an offensive term. During the 19th century, Europeans considered themselves superior and other races, particularly the blacks as oversexed and inferior. When Saartjie a.k.a. Sarah was barely in her 20s; she was sold to a Scottish doctor named Alexender Dunlop and a showman named Hendrik Cesars. There she spent her four years working in a human zoo which we generally know as a circus, displaying her large buttocks to entertain white people.
Saartjie Baartman, during her stay in London, was exhibited over 200 times in various Freak shows and science fairs.
In the 1800s, Africa was suffering from the slave trade by Europeans, Sarah was one of the victims of it. After the year 1807, the African Association came out to fight for her release. The campaign worked successfully, the government also declared that she was not being forced to carry out the exhibition. Sarah was allowed to return her home country but she refused and wanted to continue doing for what she was sold.
In 1814, Sarah returned to Paris and became a famous celebrity. She started attending society parties as well. Unfortunately, she came under the influence of an animal trainer who organised the stage performances with the name of "Reaux" and exhibit animals. He pressurised Sarah to exhibit herself. During that time, she was used for various scientific studies and creating comic arts on her. She started drinking and smoking heavily and was compelled to live a life of a prostitute.
Baartman died in 1815 at the age of 26 due to inflammatory and eruptive disease which was the result of pneumonia, syphilis or alcoholism.
Sarah was born in South Africa. However, her life made her travel to various countries where she developed lingual skills in various languages. She could speak four different languages, amongst which she was fluent in her mother tongue and quite comfortable in French, Dutch and English.
Baartman's life was one of the huge hardships. She was all alone in the world and pressurised to do what she never wanted but later she accepted everything came to her.
She died in 1815, but her exhibition continued. The scientists cut off her v@gina, brain and skeleton and kept them on display in Paris museum. Her remains also entertained the eyes of beholders until 160 years. Later in 2002, her remains were returned to South Africa.
In Eastern Cape, South Africa, the government opened "Baartman Center for Women and Children" in her memory.
Several headlines were seen on the internet stating Beyonce's plans of writing and starring in the film. However, when the singer's representative was asked about it, she totally denied this idea. With the refusal of any kind of film, the representative said, "This is an important story that should be told."
I am unable to state my suggestion for the filmmaking, but I would definitely want the world to know about this heartwarming story and learn how the discrimination, to be more clear racism is killing the humanity.
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