This story and cause is very close to my heart. In this email, I would like to share her story, the story of the Saartjie Baartman foundation, what it means to me and what we would like to do to empower women and help those suffering any form of gender based violence. I've teamed up with content creator Ansia (@beholdher.fashion) to bring awareness around these issues and to do our little part in helping this foundation.
Saartjie Baartman's Life
Sara Baartman, called "Saartjie", was born in 1789 in the Camdeboo valley in the Cape. In 1810, when Saartjie Baartman was in her early twenties, she was persuaded by an English ship’s doctor, William Dunlop, to travel to England to make her fortune. However, as a Khoikhoi woman she was considered an anthropological freak in England, and she found herself put on exhibition, displayed as a sexual curiosity. Dubbed The Hottentot Venus, her image swept through British popular culture. Abolitionists unsuccessfully fought a court battle to free her from her exhibitors.
People were able to see her for a fee, people were able to touch her for a fee, and people were able to touch her genitals and other parts of her body for a fee. This was all "legal" as her employers had a contract made between himself and Baartman. It is doubtful that this contract was valid.
In 1814, after her employer's death, a man brought Baartman to Paris. He sold her to an animal trainer, who made her amuse onlookers and she was examined in search for proof of a so-called missing link between animals and human beings, she was raped, and impregnated by her owner. The daughter was named Okurra Reaux, and she died at five years of age of an unknown disease.
Baartman lived in poverty, and died in Paris of an undetermined inflammatory disease in December 1815. After her death, they dissected her body, and displayed her remains. For more than a century and a half, to visitors in Paris. They could view her brain, skeleton and genitalia as well as a plaster cast of her body.
After five years of negotiating with the French authorities for the return of Saartjie Baartman’s remains, the South African government, together with the Griqua National Council which represents the country’s 200 000 Griqua people, part of the Koi-San group, brought Saartjie Baartman back to South Africa. On Friday 3 May 2002, in a moving ceremony attended by many representatives of the Khoikhoi people, Saartjie Baartman was welcomed back to Cape Town.
Read More about Sara here.
Why am I you telling this story?
I want to do something about discrimination, oppression, objectification and abuse of women and children, and I'm hoping you will help me. This is how we would like to help:
For any curAtiv product that is sold for the next two weeks, we will be giving you 25% off the purchase value and will match that value with a donation on your behalf to the Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children.
This is the largest Gender Based Violence Survivors Centre in South Africa. Their goal is the empowerment and rights of women and children in a safe and secure society. By naming the centre after Saartjie Baartman, they are remembering and honouring a woman who has become an icon, not only to her own Khoikhoi people, but to all women who know oppression and discrimination in their lives.
They offer support and services to women and their children who experience domestic and/or sexual violence in the form of:
- A 24-hour emergency shelter (safe accommodation)
- Short and medium term residential care
- Childcare services
- Counselling, mental health support, legal and economic empowerment services
- Children's counselling
- Research in gender-based violence
- Job Skills training
- Legal advice
How can you help?
There are three ways in which you can help. Firstly, by purchasing any of our products in the next two weeks, 25% of that purchase will be donated to the foundation. Secondly, you can donate various items that they require by dropping them off at drop off points in and around Cape Town and thirdly, you are more than welcome to volunteer with the centre, you can do so by getting in touch directly with the The Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children.
I have spoken to some of the amazing ladies in our network and they have offered to be collection points all over the Cape, so if you would like to donate, you can drop it off with them and it will all be delivered to the centre. In the link below you can sign up and we'll send you the contact details and list of things that they really need.
As our way of giving back, we are also offering you 25% off on curAtiv products at www.curativ.co.za, we will then match the discount in a donation on your behalf to the The Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children.
Sign up to get more info on how to help.
Thank you so much for reading this email, I hope you have a blessed and magic week and weekend. Together I know we can make a difference and create a better world for women together.