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The Life and Times of Sara Baartman

The Life and Times of Sara Baartman

When 20 year old Sara Baartman got on a boat that was to take her from Cape Town to London in 1810, she could not have known that she would would never see her home again. Nor, as she stood on the deck and saw her homeland disappear behind her could she have known that she would become the icon of racial inferiority and black female sexuality for the next 100 years.

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF SARA BAARTMAN is the fascinating story of this Khoi Khoi woman who was taken from South Africa, and then exhibited as a freak across Britain. The image and idea of 'The Hottentot Venus' swept through British popular culture. A court battle waged by abolitionists to free her from her exhibitors failed.

In 1814 she was taken to France, and became the object of scientific and medical research that formed the bedrock of European ideas about black female sexuality. She died the next year. But even after her death, Sara Baartman remained an object of imperialist scientific investigation. In the name of Science, her sexual organs and brain were displayed in the Musee de l'Homme in Paris until as recently as 1985.

Using historical drawings, cartoons, legal documents, and interviews with noted cultural historians and anthropologists, THE LIFE AND TIMES OF SARA BAARTMAN deconstructs the social, political, scientific and philosophical assumptions which transformed one young African woman into a representation of savage sexuality and racial inferiority.

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