Home / POP CULTURE / Who Is Sara Baartman? Every Black Woman Should Know Her Name [PHOTOS & VIDEO]

Who Is Sara Baartman? Every Black Woman Should Know Her Name [PHOTOS & VIDEO]

Sarah Baartman Fred Mpuuga (459x640)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.

The ‘Hottentot Venus’

She was called the “Hottentot Venus”, ‘Hottentot’ being a name given to people with cattle. They had acquired these cattle by migrating northwards to Angola and returned to South Africa with them, about 2 000 years before the first European settlement at the Cape in 1652. Prior to this, they were indistinguishable from the Bushmen or San, the first inhabitants of South Africa, who had been in the region for around 100 000 years as hunter-gatherers.

Khoisan is used to denote their relationship to the San people. The label “Hottentot” took on derogatory connotations, and is no longer used.

Venus is the Roman goddess of love, a cruel reference to Baartman being an object of admiration and adoration instead of the object of leering and abuse that she became.

She spent four years in London, then moved to Paris, where she continued her degrading round of shows and exhibitions. In Paris she attracted the attention of French scientists, in particular Georges Cuvier.

No one knows if Dunlop was true to his word and paid Baartman for her “services”, but if he did pay her, it wasn’t sufficient to buy herself out of the life she was living.

Once the Parisians got tired of the Baartman show, she was forced to turn to prostitution. She didn’t last the ravages of a foreign culture and climate, or the further abuse of her body. She died in 1815, at the age of 25.

The cause of death was given as “inflammatory and eruptive sickness”, possibly syphilis. Others suggest she was an alcoholic. Whatever the cause, she lived and died thousands of kilometres from home and family, in a hostile city, with no means of getting herself home again.

Cuvier made a plaster cast of her body, then removed her skeleton and, after removing her brain and genitals, pickled them and displayed them in bottles at theMusee de l’Hommein Paris.

Some 160 years later they were still on display, but were finally removed from public view in 1974. In 1994, then president Nelson Mandela requested that her remains be brought home.

Other representations were made, but it took the French government eight years to pass a bill – apparently worded so as to prevent other countries from claiming the return of their stolen treasures – to allow their small piece of “scientific curiosity” to be returned to South Africa.

In January 2002, Sarah Baartman’s remains were returned and buried on 9 August 2002, on South Africa’s Women’s Day, at Hankey in the Eastern Cape Province.

Her grave has since been declared a national heritage site.

Marang Setshwaelo, writing for Africana.com at the time, said Dr Willa Boezak, a Khoisan rights activist, believed that a poem written by Khoisan descendant Diana Ferrus in 1998 played a major role in helping bring Baartman home. Boezak said: “It took the power of a woman, through a simple, loving poem, to move hard politicians into action.”

Whatever the reason, Sarah Baartman is home, and has finally had her dignity restored by being buried where she belongs – far away from where her race and gender were so cruelly exploited.

Baartman objectified
Baartman objectified: an early nineteenth century French print titled, ‘La Belle Hottentot’


Saartjie Baartman’s Story (Part 1/2)

Saartjie Baartman’s Story (Part 2/2)


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Feature Image Credit: Ogee Wogee


You might also want to read:

The Sad Tale Of Ota Benga…The African Man Who Was Caged And Exhibited As A Monkey By White Americans



About Peace

Peace is a wife and mother who reports and analyses global trends from the perspective of a Deeva; in the hope of invoking a thought process that will lead to a positive change.

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  1. When I first learned of her story years ago, I was horrified and I am sure this is just a microcosm of the pain and suffering that was inflicted upon Black women, and to think, fast forward, what women of her age group at that time are doing today, voluntarily, to humiliate, denigrate and degrade themselves.

    • Angela, I like you learned of her story many years ago, as part of my self-education about us as African people. I like you remain horrified and to an extent traumatised by what we carry psychologically as a result of what our ancestors have suffered and how similar atrocities are in different ways, revisited on us today, so much so that I could not open the link about Sara Baartman yesterday, even though it was sent to me from a trusted friend. On the up side, to give you hope, I was speaking at a community school’s black history event last night and one of the students, a beautiful young black woman got up at the end and read a poem that she dedicated to her peers, chastising them about voluntarily humiliating, denigrating and degrading themselves. I had been invited to be inspirational to the students, instead I left inspired and more hopeful. Stay blessed. Rosemary

  2. I’ve seen a lot of women of all races with the same characteristics. This is all about establishing white superiority. Why do some people have to establish themselves as supreme, because at that time, they were trying to justify in their minds and somehow relieve themselves of their immoral slave culture. Make others less than human in their minds, to justify and not be in moral contradiction of their religious teachings. Hey, we weren’t enslaving other human beings, we were enslaving non humans and subhumans.

  3. It adds another historical dimension to Miley Cyrus’ horrid actions at the VMAs, doesn’t it?

  4. Oh my goodness, I have to watch this movie. So angry :(. GREAT PIECE

  5. You might be interested in “The Life and Times of Sarah Baartmann” & “The Return” both documentaries by Zola Maseko. Also google Gail Smith and Sarah Baartman. Peace

  6. There r many individuals alive today who would exploit a Sarah Baartman If they had that opportunity, because of the evil that exists inside their hearts, which existed inside the original savage European exploiters of this black Africian woman. This savage mentality is alive and well in many whites, often in white shirts and ties, who are still engaging in black market trade of people around the world of any race for profit, although the vast majority of this underground savage slave activity is runned by none blacks, there are percentages of blacks involved around the world in this horrible sinful barbaric illegal activity. The souls of individuals involved in such from the original Europeans down to this very day have a one way ticket bound straight to a fiery eternal Hell. What a reward for their many gains in the world to only end up losing their souls because they let the Devil be their guide.

    • They already are, Robert. You see Sarah everyday in music videos.

      • That’s right! you do see in videos everyday. And it other blacks putting her there!
        Across the board, slavery in all forms is wrong! However, when people continue to sell themselves into slavery, then its time to quit your complaining. Help wake the 2013 slaves up. This mess is still happening!
        If you aren’t not helping, then you are just another advocate for slavery. If you’re going to voice up, then stand up!

        • I can’t tell grown people what to do with there bodies. What I do is try to take a young lady aside and try teaching them. It’s the youth, our future, who are getting the worst of it. 25 year old women shaking their ass in a video is their business as awful as it is, but educating our children and using music videos as teaching tools of what not to do is better served.

  7. sadly it has been proven that africans sold out their own kind in deals to protect themselves. slave traders came to town and bribed men to lure and entice their own villagers aboard the ships or into places they were easily captured.
    nowadays ALL RACES exploit each other. its not as “black and white” as it once was.
    but isnt is so fun to point the finger at whitey
    for every thang?
    i love it!

    • Oreonproud, no one denies the African peoples were responsible for selling other Africans into what became the slave trade. I encourage you to keep learning about African slave culture versus what happened to slaves once they arrived in the ‘New World.’ I think you’ll find the difference stark and the talent of European slave traders to attack the mentality, culture and spirits of their slaves to be extraordinary in its cruelty and totality. All the best in your search for truth. May you have the courage to accept it when you find it.

    • Well..being of African-american descent, I can only speak of who has made my particular race feel inadequate over the years, and yes, that would be whitey. What happened to get us (my african americans ancestors) here, had nothing to do with how we were treated once we were in whiteys care, or posession, so to speak. Pure hatred of what was not understood. A sense of being inferior, better even, than us. Not much has changed in reality either. Its just being done in a different way, making us stonger, and stronger. Yup… thx to good ole whitey..whats done in hate, turns around for the good for those who are chosen. And like a diamond in the the ruff, we are a chosen people. WE just have to realize it, and not self destruct from being controlled by Willie Lynche letters for generations and generations. And they wonder whats wrong with us as a people..I wonder how whitey and the crew would feel if this happened to them…would they sew discord, kill each other, tear each other down, back stab and betray, or fill up the penal system???? OFCOURSE they would!!! Thats what Willie Lynche proposed in his infamous letter of reform for the slaves…..complete and utter diassembly of unification in the african american race…for generations, and generations to come, to be passed down in hopes of self destruction. SMH…GOD help us all. I can only speak for my race.

    • shame on you, you should be having the dirty white blood in you to still be justifying such a cruel practice…what is wrong with u people? are you the devil that god is warning us about?

    • You’re argument is flawed. No one is blaming “whitey” but as a human, you can’t sit here and act like the people of this time didn’t do anything wrong, including exploitation and ridicule of a black woman for entertainment http://abagond.wordpress.com/2010/09/22/africans-sold-their-own-people-as-slaves/

      • @Treezy: The link you posted speaks to the argument of historical slavery. (To which I have several choice answers, but we can pursue that later if you wish).

        Can you please cite examples of black women being ridiculed in the current century – with specific reference to how their race has been used as the point of ridicule?

    • I’m sure that there are white sex workers out there being exploited by black pimps…

      Legalise prostitution I say.

      • Not by FORCE!!!! It’s because their desire to be out there…. We black women of color did not have choices back then, we were taken from our land rape, beaten ,ridiculed, expolited for entertainment for the white man . Watching our black men beaten in front of their families it still exist today But only in a new way,,,,,,,,

    • Many Africans may have been betrayed by other Africans but it was the whites who truly exploited and abused them. Sometimes “whitey” deserves that pointing finger…or haven’t you paid attention to what has happened the last couple hundred years?
      Don’t get me started about how we treated Native Americans.
      I don’t love any of it.

    • CompassionateUnderstandingandproud

      sadly you too have sold out to protect yourself. peace be with you.

    • Well, at least you were the first person to point out that in the Slave trade, there is not only a buyer but a seller.

      Sure, point a finger at Whitey, but remember that two thousand years ago, whiteys were slaves too. (Or did all of you forget the Roman Empire?)

      The bottom line is: Human kind in general – regardless of race, culture or religion – is full of people with ugly hearts who will bully those that they can, to get that feeling of Superiority.

      • it was not only white people who were enslave by roman but any one, any race or country that the roman empire had colonized so what is your point?

        • @MysticMuggle: Sure they wouldn’t sell someone from their community, but the point remains – Africans sold Africans to the Dutch East India Company.

          @Evens: my point – as I already stated – is that humans *in general* are an unpleasant bunch of people.

          My point is: this is all history. It happened. And it happened to ALL of us. People in general are awful beasts.
          Pointing fingers NOW, will serve you nothing except outdated hatred and a perpetuation of racism.

          Slavery has been around since biblical times (and possibly before) The Europeans are not the only culprits, not by a long shot. Every culture has been a slave or owned slaves at one point or another.

          For a different perspective: consider the myth of the Zombie. the concept of a mindless, half-dead/undead creature walking around and killing people, does not originate from Europe. It does not originate from the Middle East. It doesn’t even come from the Far East.
          The word “zombi” originates from Lengala, a language native to the Congo. It refers to a person who has been enslaved by a witch-doctor (I use that title deliberately here), through a method of chemical lobotomy, using the toxins from a particular fish found in Central Africa. These “creatures” existed, but they weren’t undead. They were chemically ENSLAVED. African against African.

          Or alternatively, if you’re Christian, have another look at the Book of Leviticus. Can anyone count the number of rules revolving around the ownership and treatment of “bond servants” (a more polite form of slave)

          And just as a final bit of interesting information, here is a timeline of the abolition of slavery and eventually serfdom, throughout the world:

          Particularly of interest, is a case in England in 1706 (long before the “last hundred years”) where the Lord Chief Justice of England ruled that:
          “as soon as a Negro comes into England, he becomes free. One may be a villein in England, but not a slave.”

          • Amen! We are all human beings and we are all capable of good and evil. The color of our skin has nothing to do with it. Slavery is thriving even now and human traffickers do not discriminate.

      • Your bottom line is quite accurate!


    • i hate to comment on such matters, buh creonproud, for u loving what forbids the will of God plays my heart to only comment this. may our saviour the supreme being than us forgive your true being for there is a spirit of such in u and thus evil.

    • It seems that you’ve got a lot to learn about the history of slavery!Just give me a call & I will teach you.But for the time being I will advise you to stop being an arrogant ignoramus

    • That what they won’t you to think, seemed like it worked.

    • Yes Africans sold Africans, but they did not sale there own, they sold criminals and captives from war. Slavery existed all over the world back then.

    • shup idiot africans who enslaved other africans did not abuse and mistreat other africans they conquered they made them apart of their society as in whites mistreated, tortured and abused them for self profit, If black knew where they we’re sending their brothers and sisters into they would have bought into it. evil white devils

  8. In old England, it was believed by the wealthy elite that vegetables weren’t good for you because they contained too much water. They also thought garlic was poisonous. Just taking these minor flaws into consideration, I’m not surprised at these displays of antics. I only hope she was taken good care of and given a piece of the cut of monies they made off placing her on exhibit. Needless to say, I’m glad it’s 2013 and that globally people are better educated in regards to the different nationalities of the earth. She was a talented and beautiful woman to say the least.

  9. History has its uglinesses and its triumphs.

    If history hadn’t happened with exactly the way it did it wouldn’t include us being alive to participate in this discussion/debate…therefore whilst we cannot change history we can act in the present to right the wrongs of history.

  10. them batty boy white boy deh fi get gun shot in there face for what then do to my black sister me still vex

  11. overcome evil, by doing good – evil will always exist in this world (education over ignorance)

  12. I watched the Sara Baartman movie and it was very sad . I went thru a lot of emotions as I watched what this women had to go thru. The manipulation and abuse of how she was treated and how the white men in there mind justified there behavior.
    This women was a display for money and pleasure at the hands of other people she was degrated in every way possible. I am glad they removed her display from the museum and shipped her remains back to her home land.

    • Janine.. I have to say.. I’m glad someone saw it. I’m annoyed by the fact that 90% of the people commenting here probably did not watch this movie.. or at least all of it. Don’t make ignorant comments before you have the whole story because honestly.. what i came away with had little to do with race or racism.. It is just the horrendous evil of so many people to one woman!! I mean wow.. just absolute humiliation at every possible turn!!! I can’t imagine what this woman went through! It just left me with such terrible sadness to see even just the depiction of this story!!!

      • I agree i just watched the movie and i was in such a rage, I mean imagine what is we as african american women are thought of or as being. Every young females especially our young african american both male and female. So, i’m planning a ladies night with my 5 grandaughters an 2 greatgranddaughters we are going to watch this.

  13. its very sad … ccan only imagine if iwas my little girl..painfull to imagine

  14. Why are we so surprised how the powerful in England and France treated a defenseless African slave Com’on, why the angst about how this one African woman was treated, when we know that some of our own female ancestors (young girls, sisters, mothers, grandmothers) who were slaves in America were treated with no less respect. Quote from a prior post: “this woman was a display for money and pleasure at the hand of other people. She was degraded in every way possible.”
    We can look no further than the many hues on brown in our families to understand that our ancerstors who were slaves in America were denigrated for “money and pleasure at the hand of other people.” Don’t tell me that you dont believe that some of those sick minded slave masters did not “lend” their female/or male slaves to their male friends for “money and pleasure.” On the slave auction block, female slaves of every age were “displayed” and “leered” at by “dirty white men” and sold for their potential sexual prowess and child-bearing capabilities. Young, defenseless girls in America were repeatedly raped by masters, women were forced to bare the slave masters children until some of them died; some slaves passed down to every male member of the slavemasters family. And again, with no voice to refuse. The stories are written in our history. You talk about Sara Baartman’s prostitution – female slaves in America had no say so as to who they had sex with – anybody the master told them to – sometimes as punishment – with no pay There are absolutely horror stories of what some of the female African slaves in America had to endure for “money and pleasure at the hand of other people.” At least Sara Baartman was promised money for her abuse – our American slave ancestors were forced to endure sexual degradation – for FREE. Yes, sympathize with Sara Baartman, but I cannot justify any righteous indignation over her treatment without being even more horrified and saddened by the treatment of millions of our female slave ancestors in America. There were millions of Sara Baartman’s in American – one of which was my great-grandmother. America and white Americans refuse to look the truth in the face. I know its painful – but the truth shall make you FREE.

  15. Their was white slavery before black slavery every race of humans have inslaved their own? We just hear more because of wanting equal rights as a part of the human society that our white race has robbed us of.wanting to be the leaders of this world and any other’ but one race can’t rule this world or any other it takes all races to make this earth better together!

    • Regi, I have heard the above statement many times as an avenue to absolve America of what happened to African slaves in this country. I did acknowledge in my statement the fact that we know its difficult for white Americans to look this truth in the face. Yes, there was white slavery in America before the Africans came. They were called indentured slave/servants, most enslaved for crimes in other countries and/or debts they owed. . However, you are mixing apples and oranges – there was a difference in the two These white indentured slaves – with their white faces – had the protection of the law; the enslavement of Africans – had no protection, but rather the full enforcement of the government/law to maintain the practice at any cost – for the same reason as Sara Baartman’s abusers “money and pleasure.” Talking about pleasure, remember PRESIDENT Thomas Jefferson and his slave mistress?

  16. The overwhelming racism as implied by this article is diminished by the entry in Wikipedia for her. The Wiki article shows, to me at least, that it is a mix, like most everything else.


  17. i think Sara was a very strong woman in order for her to be able to stand the inhuman treatment she received from her exhibitions. African women with hips and curves are very admired by many men and not specifically to only African men! But i hope her soul is at peace because she deserved better treatment,

  18. White men love Black pussy

  19. Whatever we say and feel now about Hottentot, let us remember that out of very evil comes some good, because of Hottentot, feminist movement was borne, when the French white wives became enraged at their husbands beviours and feared situations whereby, they themselves may become Hottentots of some kind. But Hottentot’s story does not bother me again, what bothers me now is how we soialise our daughters, our little girls and the horrible Hottentot attitudes they now internalize and openly dispay of their own accord. Can we accept this and allow the behaviour Hottentot to continue? That is the lesson and challenge we all face today.

    • @Jenny Ubi: Her name was Sara Baartman. Please do not call her Hottentot, as that word is about as derogatory, if not more so than the N-word.

  20. I don’t have any words after seeing this film. I don’t know what to think or even say. I think I will just have nightmares about this film for months.

  21. I just found out about this story. It saddened me so at man’s inhumanity to man. What trickery was used on this poor unsuspecting soul. I can only begin to imagine the degradation that accompanied such an act of terriorism on her as a human being. There is justification for such things but there will be one day a penalty to pay.

  22. Please forgive the typo! I meant to say there is NO justification for such things but there will one day be a penalty to pay.!!!!!!

  23. I would love it…. If today on this day in 2013 that we ALL , no matter the race would leave the past behind and only judge people on their actions today and not those of the past . Racism will continue to exist if we can’t stop. Every race today is guilty of some form of racism and it is so sad.

  24. Linking this story to FB page Organizing for Women’s Liberation … got me banned for 3days.
    Apparently the concept of making racism visible and discussion is “breaking community standards”.

    Good luck “society”.. only crap regarding Miley Cyrus are truly F*CKING important.
    Great blog, excellent piece, it was worth it even if brought one woman to think and learn something.

  25. I’m gonna speak my peace and try not to anger anyone. I’m a white man and I do find this woman’s plight tragic. I also find what happened during the slave trade horrendous. But I’m not about to take on “The White Man’s Guilt” because I was born in the 80’s and have had nothing to do with any oppression. I’d like to point out the error of the artist that did the artwork at the beginning of the article. This took place in Europe, and the KKK wasn’t established until the late 1800’s…so the timeline and geographic location are way off. I do understand the metaphorical message they were going for.
    Anyhow there is honestly nothing any Caucasian person in 2013 can do or say to apologize for the atrocities carried out in the past. We can only work to make this world better for all of us. And show that our past is not necessarily reflective of the future. My great grandfather was a plantation overseer, and my grandfather himself was a reformed KKK member that died in 1987. I have no control of their actions, and I cannot deny my bloodline to them. However my wife, a lovely French Caribbean woman of black descent told me when I informed her of my families history: “What they did is on them. You are only responsible for your own destiny.”
    In short what I’m saying is that moving forward doesn’t mean forgetting the past. But don’t hold it over people like a guillotine blade.

    • James, yes your past is reflective of the present and future. Human behaviour is quite predictable. It is most likely for someone who has committed crime to do it again than one who has not. The White race is mainly driven by money and things – the sole reason Sarah Baartman (this is not an African name) was shipped to Europe. From proceeds of slavery and the mistakes of your forefathers you built vast economic empires and wealth and can now afford to call us the Third World. For reasons best known to you, you use that as justification of your superiority and intellect in the current world and to perpetuate discrimination and racism. We cannot absolve you of the crimes your forefathers committed even if you married a gorgeous beautiful black girl.

      • I justify nothing nor do I think I’m superior to anyone. I do applaud you for your well put counter-point. You cannot point a finger at me and say “What happened then is on your head” Why? because I’m 27, I’ve never denied the atrocities perpetuated by the slave trade, the Jim Crow laws, and poor Miss Baartman’s plight. I’ve never detracted from the horror of what they have done in the past. But I’ve never condoned what was done, nor did I personally agree with it or try to do anything that would continue their damnable legacy. My wife knows of my families past and like she said when she read your response: “You pick your friends, you pick your clothes and music…you cannot pick your family. So if people want to judge you forget them…they will never see further than the scope of their own points of view”

      • You realize that the point you’ve made can be easily turned around and used against you correct? As someone of (I assume) African ancestry you are therefore responsible for all of the deaths that your ancestors caused to their own people from war, for the deaths and disfiguration African people cause their women through clitoral circumcision, the death and suffering caused by African men who have unprotected sex and spread AIDS?
        To blame an entire race for the mistakes, the atrocities, of one group, is the very definition of racism and ignorance. You and those like you are a big part of why America can’t try to heal or move on from it’s dark past; you refuse to take a step back and say “this tragedy will not define me, but I will learn form it and it will give me strength”. You are part of the problem and until you realize how much you’re hurting yourself and others, you will never grow and you will never heal.

        • How am I a part of the problem? I said and I quote “I don’t deny that any of the atrocities committed” “I don’t condone them” meaning I don’t think they were right, I find it horrid. But I’m not going to shoulder the “White Man’s Guilt” for my ancestors due to the fact….That was them. I am myself. I have nothing to heal from…I just get really annoyed with the fact some people want to immediately lump the horrible past on innocent people in modern times. Am I supposed to hunt down the ancestors of people my ancestors watched over during the 1800’s and donate money? Not gonna happen…Am I gonna apologize on behalf of every white southerner that lives? I’m sorry for even commenting on this blog now because some people in here will never see where I am coming from…or the fact I’m saying the best way for a wound to heal (physical or metaphorical) is to leave it alone after cleaning out the infection. People who are still prejudiced, or blame other ethnicites for their problems are the infection…..I’m done. Have a nice day.

  26. It comes as a surprise that some people are still very ignorant about slavery or just choose to believe, that for that evil trade to go on for over 300 years, it was black people that sold themselves into slavery. So I take it that white man never went there with guns to kill and capture innocent villagers even when they did put up some resistance. Numerous accounts indicated that black people were killed by white men with guns and I don’t here people mention this at all. The truth shall truly prevail.

  27. I was born in Greece and I’m white i came to America after Martin Luther King was assassinated. It was a turning point for the black American. I went to a 80% black students elementary school and I remember being pinched and called whitey from some of the students. It’s funny but i never held a grudge and i remember wondering why they were calling me whitey when i did not feel white but that i was Greek. I wanted to fit in and i wished i was black too. I noticed so many similarities between my Greek family and other black families. Our closeness, loudness, joy, love of food and dance and our perseverance to live. I am happy that i grew up in a time of enlightment.
    Yes, we Greeks had a great history but we we’re also occupied by the Turks for 500 years, but history alone does not bind me. What people did before us should not be forgotten but should be seen as a lesson to who we should be today.

    • You might have a different reply if your grandparents, great grandparents, etc. (therefore you) were forceably taken from Greece by the Turks, forced to be slaves in Turkey; had to wear slave chains on their feet; had no freedom or liberty in Turkey; forced to work hard in cotten & tabacco fiields (or olive groves) without pay so that the wealthy Turks in Turkey could gain more wealth, and forced to forget your Grecian heritage. After 5,000 years the Jews still haven’t forgotten they were enslaved in Egypt, and celebrate their escape every year.

      • I agree!

      • @Tanya: Chances are Argyro’s ancestors WERE enslaved by the Turks. Or more precisely, the Persians.

        Also, no the Jews do not forget Egypt. But they don’t go hating on every Egyptian they meet, either. They do not say to a random Egyptian: You’re ancestors enslaved mine, now apologise/pay up.

        The point I’m trying to make is: What *exactly are you attempting to achieve by
        a) making the *racist* slur that all whiteys are slavers?
        b) harboring a bitterness that serves no purpose but to perpetuate hatred

        Do you want an apology? I’m sorry, but my ancestors had nothing to do with the enslavement of your ancestors. Not a single one of my ancestors was involved in the DEIC slave trade. The progeny of the slaves that my ancestors might have owned (though honestly I come from a long line of teachers and musicians, who were generally not rich enough to own slaves), would most likely still be staying right here in South Africa, where my family has lived for the last four hundred years. I cannot apologise for something my ancestors didn’t do.

        • If youre in South Africa, and not an American, you are not a part of my story or history, nor do you know it. I did precisely say “America” and “Americans”. I am only talking what “I know.” – from my experience and my history. I also said that the Jews will not appreciate if you tell them to “forget” the Holocaust. I do not “know” what the Jews feel about Eyptians and you probably dont either, since I am not Jewish. But I do “know” that every year, several times a year in their holidays they recount that experience and what they went through in Egypt – they were commanded by God to never forget what happened over 5,000 years ago. Do you call that “perpetuating hatred?” Africans were free from slavery (but not racial discrimination) in American less than 150 years ago.. Maybe in 5000 years from now we might not still be suffering from the effects of slavery and discrimination from a so called “superior” race. I “know” that racism still raise its ugly head in America. If your expereince is not the same as mine you have not right to be judgemental. After all you can be proud of tracing your family’s history back four hundred years – which for African “Americans” were erased. America thought so little of their slaves that they did not deserve birth certificates. You can not “know” my history better than I do. What am I trying to achieve? Education. Ignorance is NOT bliss.

          • I don’t think anyone would ask that you forget your history; everyone’s history is important. But I believe it’s important to remember that our pasts, shared or personal, do not define us. There will always be racism because it is human nature to hate and fear what is different, as recent events have shown and past events have made abundantly clear on every continent and every culture.
            You are right to want to educate others about your history, your people, and what happened. But a pride and understanding of your history should not come at the expense and hatred of my own. Neither one of us could choose our pasts any more than fly (naturally).
            I don’t know your struggle or your family’s. I can only say that I hope you don’t let the past define how you live your life.

          • You said “The Jews do not forget Egypt.” No. They don’t. And of course they don’t forget the Holocaust. HOWEVER, they do not hate every German for the pain, terror and degradation inflicted on them. Can you see what I am getting at? The lesson that the Jews perpetuate is not to hate every member of the German nation, or point fingers at all West Europeans and say “Murderer”. The lesson that is remembered is that these things happen, and we SURVIVE them. We, the Jews are still here, despite several attempts to exterminate us.

            I understand that you are more interested in the events of America’s history. However my voice is just as valid, as I was born and raised in one of the “source” countries.
            The point I was trying to make was less about my own culpability (or lack thereof) in the slave trade, and more to offer counterpoint to your “Education”.
            There are a lot of people on this thread, who have have essentially committed hate speech against the entirety of the White Races – in short, by generalising – and then got tetchy when we who have Caucasian ancestors give general replies in our defense.

            As for your “Education”: how often does this subject need to be hammered on? The number of movies I have seen about the treatment of slaves, and African-American people in general…let’s just say I probably now know more about your history, than I do about that of Namibia, or Botswana.
            It’s a flogged horse. And every time someone raises it from the dead, there is the inevitable spate of “White people must pay!”
            Do you want to know what happens when that sort of mentality blooms in a country where White people are in the minority?

            Have some counter-education:

            Which leads to:
            And finally:
            Fantastic sentiment, isn’t it?

  28. She chose to be in Europe, it was her decision. And I fine her story not interesting at all. Why don’t we ask ourselves if the European man forced her to Europe or she willingly decided to go? To me this woman has no place in our dear African history.

    • I’m sorry to be so cyber-vocal on this story. It just boggles my mind how so many people know so little about slavery or history. “she choice to be in Europe?” No, she could not have made her own decision. SHE WAS A SLAVE. SLAVES DO NOT MAKE DECISIONS. Even if she did not want to do it, a slave could not safely refuse to do anything that their masters TOLD them to do. There is no discussion – there was punishment if a slave showed any emotion or feelings about anything their owners TOLD them to do. That is the nature of slavery.

  29. We don’t know how she ended up on the boat. You said she was a slave she could have been sold by her master. There is so much sadness and heartache that was and still is in this world in one way in another. Glad that we have all become educated and know better hope we can all do better..

  30. Feeling completely outraged and violated. Can you please share a link to the poem you mentioned that helped to bring her home?

    • Hello, Bee. It is indeed a heart-breaking story. You got your wish. Check my blog in 2 hours and you’ll be able to read the wonderful poem that brought Sarah back home.

  31. thanks god, she is back…the write-up is touching

  32. I just read this story, seriously I am not happy. I dont know why the old white men are so wicked, but we thanks God for today that many white white and the younger once are better now, well let just forget about everything that happen because if we continue we will start having bad feeling against the white people. Let just thank God today for bring everything closer again. Thanks to God

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