Sarah Baartman and the KhoiSan Legacy
June 18, 2012 in Uncategorized
A few years ago a friend called me and urged me to tune in to SABC 2 /3 to watch a cultural show in honour of Sarah Baartman.
I almost choked.
Sarah was being honoured as the MOTHER. Artists were singing and dancing and making music. It was all very beautiful and no doubt they all earned a pretty package in the process.
There was no golden skinned person in that show hey! There was no artist, no representation, no representative of a Sarah Baartman family descendent.
Sarah had just recently been returned to South Africa following the attention that the Diana Ferrus poem focused on Sarah. This poem was not even performed or read in the show. There was a fleeting reference to it and the new resting place, Hankey, in the Eastern Province 9 August 2002.
Diana first read this poem publically for a Women’s Day event in St Nicholas Church Elsies River.
The next day my friend (European) and I drove to Town together. She asked whether I watched the show. She thought that it was a great show. She thought that the music, singing and dancing were all wonderful.
… and the music and the singing and the dancing were all wonderful…
It was the missing element; the misrepresentation of who Sarah was and who she descended from and who else descended from her ancestors that was troubling.
It was that the economic and other benefits bestowed by the history of Sarah and this show bypassed the descendents of the First Nations; ignored the greatly talented musicians, poets, singers, dancers and other talents and chose to exclude them entirely from this celebration of Sarah.
It was a tremendous opportunity for an integrated artistic representation and celebration, instead it was entirely hijacked to sideline the descendents of the First Nations of which Sarah was a direct member besides being a representative of South Africa and its history.
Recently Sweden joined in this perversion of who Sarah was and in the continued genocide of the First Nations:
There she is, the new and modern Sarah Baartman. Not a sign of her golden honey tan, the hallmark of her KhoiSan heritage- of being of the First Nations.
She is feasted upon. Nothing new in that… Africa and her people were feasted upon. Nothing new in the denial of Sarah’s heritage, of the First Nations- the KhoiSan. The onslaught on the minority rights and the historical significance of the First Nations continues unabatedly.
We should move hey; we must disperse and be swallowed up by the rest of the nation. We can’t get jobs in the Western Cape. If we have jobs we must train other blacks to become our managers. Ha ha ha:) In the past we had to train whites to become our managers…
Why is it so hard to accord dignity and the right to identity to the descendents of the First Nations of South Africa? We had not demanded a homeland of our own. We simply asked to be accorded dignity and the right to survive in an integrated South African Society and for those tribes that still lived out the old culture to be allowed to do so but they were banished into the harsh Kalahari to fend for themselves without water and the resources that were theirs for eons, because tourism and parklands had to be preserved.
We are so few. Advancement out of poverty and the historical cultural or group security within the greater South African diversity and identity could hardly make a dent in the South African economy or land ownership. Weep, because the First Nation descendents are still alien in the land of their birth – still denied; still we face genocide and have in fact been recorded as a dead people- extinct as the dodo.