Writing Baartman’s Agency: History, Biography, and the Imbroglios of Truth



“Baartman belongs to all of us,” states the central character in Zoe Wicomb’s novel, David’s Story (2000, 135). An activist who believes he can tell his own story only by meshing history, memory, and imagining, David insists that a story of Sara Baartman must be told in relation to his own locations and politics. In explaining his fusing of biography and autobiography, he comments on an enduring discursive role for Baartman. Whether configured in terms of grotesque physicality in the late 1800s and early 1900s, or as a figure testifying to colonial domination from the late twentieth century, Baartman has provided a reference point in the autobiographical narratives of those who represent her, with storytelling about her functioning to convey collective or individual desires in the present.


Black Woman Definitive Truth Autobiographical Narrative White Employer Colonial Domination 
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© Natasha Gordon-Chipembere 2011

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