South African director Zola Maseko’s documentary, The Life & Times of Sara Baartman — ‘The Hottentot Venus’, is punctuated with the jazz singer Gloria Bosnian's catchy continental refrain, ‘I’m going back to Africa'. In 1998, when the film was completed, this projected homecoming was an optimistic conclusion to a nearly two-hundred-year-old story. Maseko’s film turned out to be timely. In January 2002, the French government — apparently inspired to act by a poem to Saartje Baartman which appeared on the internet — announced that her remains would indeed be returned for burial in South Africa.2 Following a ceremony in France in early May, they were flown from Paris back to Cape Town; and in August, marking her birthday (on the 9th) and nationwide Women’s Day celebrations, Saartje Baartman was finally buried in her natal earth — in the Gamtoos Valley area of the Eastern Cape — as thousands looked on and a female choir sang ‘You are returning to your fatherland under African skies’ (see “‘Hottentot Venus” Laid to Rest’, online.)
Easton, Kai, Travelling through History, 'New' South African Icons: The Narratives of Saartje Baartman and Krotoa-Eva in Zoe Wicomb's David's Story, Kunapipi, 24(1), 2002.