El Negro was an unknown African man of Tswana origin. His remains were returned from Europe in October 2000, where he had been stuffed and made into a freak exhibit.
Government ministers, diplomats and members of the public attended the burial of the warrior, known as El Negro (the black man), whose body arrived in Gaborone from Spain, where its display angered many Africans. STAFF WRITER AUBREY LUTE replays a presentation by Dr Jeff Ramsay at the Commonwealth Conference Human Remains Management: Extending the conversation throughout Africa.
Dr Ramsay narrated that El Negro’s story is a text book case for the conference on Human remains management. “When he arrived in Gaborone, he was nothing like what was displayed in Spain. This was wrong on all grounds. We expected a coffin to arrive so that people can view the remains, but nothing of that sort happened then.”
Africa has a very dark past in so far as relationship with the West is concerned. Africans have been seen the worst of mistreatment, they have been humiliated, they have scars to attest to the brutality they were subjected to by their colonial masters whose racism still ferment today despite the many years of civilization across the globe. In Botswana, a man dubbed El Negro has become the template of humiliation faced by the Sotho-Tswana people under the colonial rule.
The body of this ancient African warrior stolen from its grave over 170 years ago and displayed in European showcases was reburied in Botswana on in October 2010 in a solemn ceremony attended by more than 1000 people. The remains were lowered into the ground in a coffin draped with the Botswana flag at the popular Tsholofelo Recreational Park in a northern suburb of the capital. A plaque at the site reads: "The body of El Negro was stolen in 1830 and returned on 4 October 2000."
Dr Jeff Ramsay of Livingstone Kolobeng College relieved the humiliation and indignity suffered by El Negro when giving a presentation at the Commonwealth Conference Human Remains Management: Extending the conversation throughout Africa on March 12 at the University of Botswana. With Africa, Botswana included, still under the shadow of the West, Ramsay’s presentation opened old wounds that reminded many that despite Botswana’s peaceful attainment of independence in 1966, those who lived before the transition experienced haunting and daunting experiences under the likes of William Hunt and George Lennox. The former transported “Bushmen” for popular entertainment while the former sold “Bushmen” remains for various collections.
Dr Ramsay bulleted some incidents to demonstrate how El Negro was humiliated even after his arrival in Africa. He was buried at Tsholofelo Park instead of the Gaborone cemetery, no explanation as to why at the Park; He was associated with El Nino, because it coincided with his burial here; There is a secondary controversy on whether he was from South Africa or Botswana; DNA that was taken from him was never reported back; therefore his story is humiliating and daunting, argues Dr Ramsay.
Back in 2010, Foreign Minister, the late Mompati Merafhe, who laid a wreath at the grave, condemned the two French taxidermists who stole El Negro's body from its grave in 1830 and put in on display in Paris before selling it to a Spanish museum. And for his part the then Spanish Ambassador to Botswana Eduardo Garrigues said "administrative and political procedures" had delayed the body's return. He said the display of the warrior's body had been an "insult to the dignity of all Africans".
Botswana officials had angrily said that El Negro was "displayed like a stuffed antelope", but Dr Ramsay’s depiction of El Negro’s return and stay at his resting place mocks this statement. His return was more like a rendition of the Paris stunts which saw El Negro’s body being publicly displayed to the amusement of Europeans. Today, El Negro’s grave is not noticeable and is a forgotten nonevent. Pressure for the body to be returned mounted after Haitian doctor Alphonse Arcelin, resident in Spain, complained to the United Nations in 1992 at the undignified treatment of the remains.
Arcelin's complaint was followed by a bitter row in Banyoles between those in favour of repatriating the body and those who wanted to keep it. Records show that the suspected warrior was withdrawn from exhibition in 1997 and kept in a depot pending a decision, which came last February when the town council agreed that his remains should return to Botswana for burial.
It is evident though that the exact place of origin of El Negro has not been determined, although he was originally referred to as El Bechuana or Motswana (inhabitant of what was then Bechuanaland). The late Merafhe had tried to put the issue of origin to rest by saying: "He was an African and we wanted him home, period."
How El Negro’s remains were stolen from Africa
While travelling in modern South Africa, Jules Verreaux and his brother witnessed the burial of a Motswana warrior. He returned to the burial site under the cover of night to dig up the African’s body, which he subsequently stuffed. He then shipped the body to Paris along with a batch of stuffed animals in crates. In 1831, the African’s body appeared in a showroom at No. 3, Rue Saint Fiacre as an exhibit.
La Figero described the Verreaux brothers as “real vampires” who were only interested in dealing with the skin of the exhumed corpse. After eviscerating him to stay with only the skin, the skull and a few bones, the brothers left the rest to the jackals”. In their attempt to cover themselves with their sale, the Verreaux tuned the corpse smearing it with bitumen to blacken its skin more. “That seemed more exotic”!
With Government tightening the noose around public areas through the State of Public Emergency tool, it is very unlikely that there could be celebrations this festive season.
Just this week Government, through the Government Gazette announced that hawkers will not be allowed to go inside parked buses to sell their goods; while at the same time buses will only be allowed to enter the bus rank to pick and drop.
This move is further instructive to the entertainment or creative industry that things are far from being let loose to allow for staging of festivals and gigs.
As the year comes to an end, artists normally anticipate increased rate of bookings inside and outside the country. This looks set not to be the case this year as the spread of COVID-19 remains a threat and Botswana is still under the State of Public Emergency.
As things stand large shows that attract multitudes are prohibited, as per the Emergency Regulations signed by President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi. This is the period when events such as Born & Raised, Gaabo Motho and many more normally have their bread buttered.
When COVID-19 reached Botswana shores in February other big events such as The Hamptons, Gaborone International Music & Culture week (GIMC), African Attire on Fleek, Soul Fill Up with Franco and many more who were anticipating a great return were forced to cancel due to covid-19 restrictions.
Indications point to a Christmas and New Year that would be dominated by law enforcement officers patrolling the streets to ensure adherence to social distancing. Big music industry players like Vee Mampeezy can only hope that their industry will be opened – but this end does not appear in sight.
The popular musician recently spoke to this reporter and confirmed that he is running at a loss, “usually at this time of the year I am usually fully booked,” he said.“Obviously we are affected. We are only hoping that the government will open. We believe they will open.
This year, it is very rough, we are only getting bookings there and there by people who are doing events. I have lost too much money this season. A lot of it,” said Vee Mampeezy.As for Maxy, the songstress is not sure how things are coming up this festive season but she is positive that something is in the pipeline for her.
“I really don’t know; but as for me it’s been better for I have been getting a few corporate gigs there and there due to my corporate market clientele. As for what I’m planning, only time will tell depending on the COVID-19 rules and what is presented on the table for me because I don’t do nor organise my own gigs but I only take bookings from paying event organisers,” she said.
Amidst positive news on vaccine developments and successful trials, the coronavirus is surging in Europe with some countries announcing partial lockdowns to control the spread. On the 16th November 2020, through his formal missive noted that COVID-19 remains a concern in the country as infections continue rising. “As of 11th November 2020, Botswana had recorded 9103 cases.”
So far 30 people have died due to complications linked to COVID-19. Most of the deaths have been recorded in the Greater Gaborone area with the COVID-19 task team analysis depicting that Botswana records one death for every 250 positive cases detected.
Botswana currently has 837 active cases and 6801 recoveries.
BY:MAUNGO MASIAPETO Have you been drooling over stunning make up looks posted by models, artists and influencers on social media? Have you tried to copy their looks, used the products advertised on their post, but your make up isn’t the same as theirs?
Here is the thing, you can devote hours blending out your foundation, crafting a flawless eye shadow look and mastering the perfect dewy highlight but your makeup will only be as good as its base. What do I mean by that? Well, prepping your skin correctly can make a world of a difference when it comes to applying your makeup.
Follow these steps for a flawless skin prep routine:
Step1: Cleansing has so many benefits for the skin. Not only does regular cleansing help retain pore size, but it also aids to create supple-looking and healthy skin. If you have oily skin, perhaps try the double cleansing trend as this can prevent the production of excess oils. For the best makeup application, cleanse in the remove any toxins built up from the night.
Step 2: Exfoliate, alongside your morning cleanse, it is vital to also exfoliate your skin. Not only will this get rid of any dead skin cells on the surface of your skin, but it will clear the skin of any accumulating sweat, bacteria and dirt. Alongside providing the ultimate smooth base for makeup application, it will help to minimise your pores for flawless looking makeup.
Step 3: Toner is the intermediate step, but it is a step that should not be overlooked. It is a great addition to your skincare routine because it prevents ingrown hairs, refreshes the skin and shrinks pores. For maximum hydration to the skin, toner should be applied after cleansing and before moisturising. Hydrated skin will result in a smooth, plump complexion, and therefore better-looking makeup.
Step 4: Moisturize, Lightly massaging your skin with a moisturizer will hydrate your skin, improve blood circulation and brighten it instantly. Choose a moisturizer that works well for your skin type, anything that does not absorb well or isn’t too hydrating for your skin is of no use. Opt for oil-free moisturizers such as the Ponds Super Light Gel Oil Free Moisturizer for oily skin. Dry skin should be moisturized with cream or oil-based moisturizers such as the Simple Kind To Skin Replenishing Rich Moisturizer.
Step 5: lip prep If you have ever applied lipstick on dry, chapped lips, you have probably noticed your lipstick flaking off. To combat this, use a lip scrub to ensure the best lipstick results and to get rid of any dry skin. An added benefit to using a lip scrub is that it prevents any discolouration on your lips, so you look your best makeup- free too. Be sure to use a lip balm immediately after to keep your lips soft and supple
Step 6: Prime, It is rare that your skin will always look flawless. Naturally, we all occasionally get acne, enlarged pores and imperfections. However, a primer can really help to provide a good base for your makeup. Primers fill in the pores on the skin, smooth out blemishes and provide a natural glow to the skin. Not only do they help to prevent your makeup sliding off your face, but there is now a primer for almost every skin condition. For example, if you have uneven pigmentation in your skin, you can opt for a colour correcting primer whereas if you suffer mainly from enlarged pores, try a blurring prime.
Now that you’ve let your primer sink into the skin, you’re ready to proceed with foundation. If you would like a rundown of how to get the best make up tips let me know! Go checkout a few detailed classes on our social media pages
The country’s then popular eponymous talent search show My African Dream MAD is officially back. My African Dream is popularly known for scouting talent and cultivating it to be something of great worth in the entertainment sector. The show has produced today’s prominent artists such as the notorious ATI, DJ Guyvos as well as Amanandos amongst others.
That was before the dream shuttered because the talent show has been off BTV screens for years now. Reasons for this miserable reality are still not known even up to this day. Anyway, the new virtual edition of My African Dream was launched this week at the Riverwalk Mall Courtyard.
Riverwalk Mall is famously known for birthing My African Dream back in the days. The shopping complex used the idea as a way of promoting itself, as it was relatively new in the capital city, so this was a needed shot in the arm.
The revived My African Dream 2020 shall scour the country virtually. This is obviously because of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic that had shattered the entire world. The digital submissions will be made on the My African Dream website and sorted following which the public will be invited to vote for the Top 16 finalists.
According to the My African Dream team leader, Losika Seboni, the nationwide talent search show has had a great impact in the growth of the arts and entertainment sector in Botswana. He says this is a platform that gave many aspiring creatives and artists a chance to explore their talents, abilities and aspirations.
“My African Dream has been geared towards the cultivation of arts through music, dance and performance. Since 1996, My African Dream has given thousands of Batswana youth the platform to express themselves through the arts and has had success in the form of national icons such as ATI, Han C, Samantha Mogwe, Rosemary as well as Marang.
In order to dig up more young talent, Seboni indicated that they saw it critical to bring back to life the talent search, with the help of partners that subsidized finances and technical aspects of the show, that is anticipated to bring flair, fair adjudicating, lights and red carpet event.
A local communications operator Mascom boosted the talent show with P350 000, as a way of encouraging the growth of arts and entertainment sector in the country. I must say this is a creditable gesture coming from Mascom. The arts and entertainment sector has been gravely hit by the Corona-virus blight, and having corporates and private companies coming to the party to succor the sector, is really a remarkable participation.
The organizers told Weekendlife that they will be opening up for submissions this week. Because now the world is moving towards a digital space, interested parties have been urged to record their audition and submission on the MAD official Facebook page, or alternatively the website.
Clearly not a stranger to the spotlight, the bubbly Peelo Mookodi was announced as the host of My African Dream 2020. She was a firm fan favorite on Sabc 3’s Presenter Search and week after week her fan base just kept on growing. Whereas most people would shy away from the kind of scrutiny that comes with being any sort of host (Family functions included) she dazzles with a confidence that’s somewhere between God given and self-taught & mastered
Before she was on SABC, interviewing South Africa’s power socialites, personalities and trendsetters both on red carpet and live on TV such as David Tlale and Somizi, the young woman sharpened her teeth in the Botswana entertainment industry, hosting a lifestyle show on BTV.
Not only that, she was crowned the first ever Miss Africa Botswana and was set to represent Botswana at the continental Miss Africa pageant when an unfortunate clash of victories occurred. During her reign as Miss Africa BW she participated in another pageant and was crowned 1st Princess, which was apparently contrary to her agreement with the Miss Africa pageant organizers.