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Life, death and torture of Sarah Baartman

The story of Sara Saartjie Baartman large butt, black female sexuality and body shapes is still one of empowerment vs exploitation entertainment.

Sarah Baartman was exhibited in human zoo's naked or scantily dressed throughout Britain, Paris, Ireland, and Belgium from 1810 to 1815 in cages alongside animals, in public places and rich clients’ private homes. She was pinched, poked made fun of, studied, sexualized, and ridiculed as part of exotic exhibitions in Europe.

The Hottentot Venus, Sarah Baartman was a South African Khoisan tribe woman from the Kalahari famous for the biggest butt the world has ever seen. Sarah Baartman became world famous as the most exotic of the four Hottentot Venuses paraded around Eroupe as well as a landmark court case.

Sara Baartman

Life, death and torture of African Hottentot Venus Sarah Baartman.

Treated inhumanly, the short life of the Hottentot Venus Sarah Baartman was one to be displayed and exhibited naked or scantily dressed at 225 Piccadilly in a cage on stage in London's Piccadilly Circus.

Unable to read or write, allegedly she signed a contract that she would receive half the profit. Other terms of her contract were that she would travel with Hendrik Cezar and Dunlop to England and Ireland to work as a domestic servant, and be exhibited for entertainment purposes could return to South Africa after five years.

She was put on display in 1810 at carnivals of human curiosities, live specimens and exotic exhibitions, Piccadilly Circus and freak shows in London and Paris, with crowds invited to look at her large booty and genitals. Britain's well to do society members gawked at, prodded and squeezed Sarahs so-called freakish human form which was paraded before them.

Sarah had a condition called Steatopygia that is a condition that produces a substantial amount of fat tissue on the buttocks and thighs. Steatopygia is common in the women of the Griqua Khoikhoi tribe which Sarah was born.

Life, death and torture of big booty African hottentot venus Sarah Baartman
Britain's well to do society members gawked at, prodded and squeezed Sarah behind while attending human zoo's.

Sarah's promoters nicknamed her the Hottentot Venus. Hottentot now seen as derogatory was used by white Europeans to describe the Khoi African peoples. Sarahs physical and economic exploitation became the rallying cry of abolitionists in London. The African Association also known as African Association for promoting the discovery of the interior of Africa was founded in 1788 and brought Baartmans case to court.

Baartman was the only Hottentot Venus whose case of exploration made its way through the courts. The law case was brought before the British Judiciary System in November 1810 were observers of the court case documented what they observed Baartman to go through day-to-day. Through this court case, today this is how the world able to trace her story in London and Paris.

Activists were appalled at Sarah's treatment and how the African women were portrayed as wild sexual creatures made shamed for having large bodies. Her employers were prosecuted for holding Sarah against her will, but not convicted, with Sarah herself testifying in their favor.

Sarahs show gradually lost its novelty and popularity among audiences in Paris and she went on tour around Britain and Ireland. A year before her death in 1814, Sarah worked for Reaux, an animal exhibitor in South Africa where she was exhibited in a cage alongside animals.

Born in South Africa's Eastern Cape in 1789, Sarah Baartman died on December 29, 1815, at the age of 26, but her exhibition continued. Baron Georges Cuvier was a French zoologist who established the sciences of comparative anatomy and paleontology. He and other medical scientists codified racial difference by studying, recording and drawing Sarah Baartmans’ genitals and buttocks.

Cuvier, a naturalist obtained Baartmans' remains from local police and dissected her body. He made a plaster cast of her body, pickled her brain and genitals and placed them into jars that were placed on display at the Musee de l'Homme Museum of Man until 1974.

In 1994, President Nelson Mandela requested that the French government return the remains of Sarah. The process took eight years but on March 6, 2002, Sarah was brought back home to South Africa. 

She was buried August 9, 2002, on Women’s Day at Hankey in the Eastern Cape Province. In Sarah's honor, South Africa's Eastern Cape Province Cacadu District was renamed the Sarah Baartman District in 2015.

Did you know? Born in 1789 and died in 1815, no photographs of Sarah Baartman, the Hottentot Venus exists, only drawings. Sarah may have died from the result of health problems due to suppossed alcoholism however her cause of death cannot be confirmed. No written recording of Sarah Baartman have been found., her voice and her own life story in her words were never written down.

The human trafficking and black exploitation story of Sara Saartjie Baartman life and death story continued the belief that back women are extraterrestrial sexual black nymphos because of large butts, the nature of black female sexuality and black female bodies today is still one of empowerment vs exploitation entertainment.

Did you know? In Paris on November 19, 1814 Sarah Baartman’s large backside inspired a one act Vaudeville play called the Hottentot Venus or the hatred of the Frenchwoman written by Thiaulon,Dartois, and Brasier where a bride-to-be wears a large wide triangular dress mimicking the wide hips of Baartman to keep the attention of her husbands-to-be wandering eyes.

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