“Body” of Evidence: Saartjie Baartman and the Archive
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When I first saw her I thought that she was beautiful. No. That is understating it. I thought she was the ideal—ample hips, a generous bosom—the kind of woman I had wanted to be when I was five years old. I saw women like that everywhere: carrying babies on their backs; crossing the street with loads on their heads; sitting in chairs on their verandahs watching the world pass by; laughing at the corner of a dusty road; arguing with husbands at the store— all this while never looking harried or hurried. When I grow up, I thought to myself, I will look like these women and just like them I will be happy in the world. I too will stand under the shade of a jacaranda tree my left arm akimbo, a stick of grass in my mouth, my right hand gesturing to shoo a fly—mistress of all I surveyed. Nothing would make me happier, the five-year-old me thought, than to one day be a woman with ample hips and a generous bosom. To be beautiful. To be a sight to behold.
KeywordsRacial Alterity Racial Focus Generous Bosom Center Race Frantz Fanon
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