Musiek in konteks

Bertha M. Spies is a professor extraordinary in Music at the University of Pretoria
and a research partner at the School of Music at North-West University, South Africa.
She specializes in music of the twentieth and twenty first centuries, following a hermeneutical approach.


Two centuries after her death Saartjie Baartman, a South African Khoikhoi woman, has come to be regarded as a female icon and a symbol of the struggle for human rights in debates on race, gender and otherness.

In 2010 the Tisch School of the Arts in New York presented “an interdisciplinary symposium on Sarah Baartman” entitled “Venus 2010”; one of the topics dealt with was iconic women in the twentieth century (Tisch 2010).

Saartjie Baartman has been depicted as a mythical figure, a national grandmother, martyr and heroine, and the return of her remains to South African soil in 2002 is regarded as a symbolic ending to colonialism, slavery and racism.

Some two centuries after Saartjie's departure from the country her identity is used as a symbol for nation-building in the new South Africa (Kerseboom 2011:64, 75). She was originally displayed as a freak because of her unusual physique, but her life story is now used as an example of colonial exploitation and degradation.



Gepubliseer: Augustus 2014