I first read about Sarah Baartman, very casually and in passing, many years ago. I didn’t know her by her real name. Rather, I knew her as the ‘Hottentot Venus.’
Not until recently, when I stumbled upon a historic film about her, was I filled with rage about the injustice she suffered in the hands of the Europeans. Sometimes, I find it difficult to imagine why the early Europeans saw us, Africans as savages…when indeed they were the true perverts and savages. You need to see the way those white men leered at her with lustful eyes.
I have taken time to research on Sarah Baartman. The most comprehensive report comes from SouthAfrica.Info. I have taken the liberty of culling their report so that we could all learn about this incredible South African woman from the Khoisan tribe who was mistaken for a freak because she had very big hips, buttocks and an enlarged VJJ.
Culled From, SouthAfrica.Info:
Sarah Baartman, displayed as a freak because of her unusual physical features, was finally laid to rest 187 years after she left Cape Town for London. Her remains were buried on Women’s Day, 9 August 2002, in the area of her birth, the Gamtoos River Valley in the Eastern Cape.
Baartman was born in 1789. She was working as a slave in Cape Town when she was “discovered” by British ship’s doctor William Dunlop, who persuaded her to travel with him to England. We’ll never know what she had in mind when she stepped on board – of her own free will – a ship for London.
But it’s clear what Dunlop had in mind – to display her as a “freak”, a “scientific curiosity”, and make money from these shows, some of which he promised to give to her.
Baartman had unusually large buttocks and genitals, and in the early 1800s Europeans were arrogantly obsessed with their own superiority, and with proving that others, particularly blacks, were inferior and oversexed.
Baartman’s physical characteristics, not unusual for Khoisan women, although her features were larger than normal, were “evidence” of this prejudice, and she was treated like a freak exhibit in London.