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Political Apologies and Reparations Document List Details

'Hottentot Venus' goes home

Author: BBC News
Source: BBC News (Link)
Date: 29 April 2002
View Related Articles
Document Type: Press
Donor: France Event Date: 01 January 1810
Recipient: South Africa Reparation Date: 26 April 2002

In 1810, William Dunlop, a British doctor on a ship, noticed Saarti Baartman (from the Khoisan tribe known as Hottentots) whose anatomy he considered unusual.  Dunlop took Baartman to London in hopes of exhibiting her to paying audiences “as a freak of nature.”  She was sold to a French entrepreneur who took her to Paris where she died in 1816.  Once in Europe, she was known as “Hottentot Venus.”  Parts of Baartman’s body were preserved and put on display at the Museum of Mankind in Paris until 1974.  After apartheid ended, South Africa campaigned for the return of Baartman’s remains.  The return of the remains was delayed because “[t]he French were concerned that to return Baartman’s remains might lead to claims from other countries for the return of artefacts held in French museums.”


Repatriation of remains


On 26 April 2002 at a ceremony in Paris, the skeleton and bottled organs of Baartman were handed to a South African ambassador.  French Research Minister Roger-Gerard Schwartzenberg said: “After suffering so much offence and humiliation, Saarti Baartman will have her dignity restored – she will find justice and peace.”



William Dunlop, Saarti Baartman, Baartman, Saartje Baartman, Khoisan, Hottentot, Hottentots, human remains, skeleton, organs