No arrests yet after Sarah Baartman memorial defaced

2015-04-26 11:36

Johannesburg - Eastern Cape police confirmed on Sunday that the Sarah Baartman memorial at a centre of remembrance built in her honour in Hankey had been defaced.

The incident happened at around 12:00 on Saturday, said Warrant Officer Gerda Swart.

"The report was made by a community member who said he saw several men defacing the memorial's plaque with paint," said Swart.

Police had opened a case of malicious damage to property as well as one of the contravention of section 515E of the National Heritage Resources Act.

"No arrests have been made at this stage," said Swart.

According to inniKloof the plaque at the gravesite of Sarah Baartman in Hankey, a national heritage site, has been vandalised.

Posted by Herald Port Elizabeth on Saturday, 25 April 2015

Baartman was a Khoi-woman born in the late 1700's in the Gamtoos Valley in what is now known as the Eastern Cape.

While in her early 20s, she was persuaded by an English ship's doctor, William Dunlop, to travel to England where she would make a fortune. However, when she arrived in England she was exhibited as an anthropological freak because of her large buttocks.

She was such a popular exhibition in Britain that she was taken to Paris in 1814, where she continued to be exhibited.

She died in 1816.

Following her death, the Musee de l'Homme in Paris took a death cast of her body, removed her skeleton and pickled her brain and genitals in jars, which were displayed at the museum until 1985.

Her remains were eventually brought back to South Africa and are buried at the Saartjie Baartman centre of remembrance.

Former President Thabo Mbeki declared Baartman's grave a national heritage site in 2002.

Read more on:    port elizabeth  |  monuments debate

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