Another racist crime of the most barbaric people on earth: the Europeans. Americans, Australians, New Zealanders, etc… are all the same: Europeans who invaded and stole other countries by committing genocides.
In the early 19th Century, it was fashionable for Europeans to collect wild animals from around the globe, bring them home and put them on display. One French dealer went further, bringing back the body of an African warrior. Dutch writer Frank Westerman came across the exhibit in a Spanish museum 30 years ago, and was determined to trace the man’s history.
A decorative chain-link fence in the national colours – blue, white and black – marks the grave of one of the most famous, but least enviable sons of Botswana: “El Negro”. His resting place in a public park in the city of Gaborone, under a tree trunk and some rocks, is reminiscent of the tomb of an unknown soldier.
A metal plaque reads:
Died c. 1830
Son of Africa
Carried to Europe in Death
Returned Home to African Soil
His fame comes from his posthumous travels – lasting 170 years – as a museum exhibit in France and Spain. Generations of Europeans gaped at his half-naked body, which had been stuffed and mounted by a taxidermist. There he stood, nameless, exhibited like a trophy.
Back in 1983, as a university student from The Netherlands, I accidentally came across him on a hitchhiking trip to Spain. I had spent a night in the town of Banyoles, an hour north of Barcelona. The entrance of the Darder Museum of Natural History, behind a trio of leafless plane trees, happened to be next door.