Laying The Past To Rest

Can Africa consign its colonial baggage to the past?

Saartjie Baartman was a simple South African native girl who, early in the 19th century, became something of a celebrity in Europe — and a shameful symbol of racist exploitation. This month the preserved remains of the woman once known as the Hottentot Venus will be moved from a dark corner of the Musée de l'Homme in Paris and sent back to her birthplace. After almost 200 years, Saartjie Baartman is going home.

Baartman was born in 1789 into the Griqua tribe of the eastern Cape, a subgroup of the Khoisan people who are now thought to be the...

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