4. Jardin d’Agronomie Tropicale – the human zoo of Paris.
In a grand, albeit twisted display of power, the French, in a bid to promote their colonizing power, built six villages in the Jardin d’Agronomie Tropicale, each representative of the Madagascar, Indochine, Sudan, Congo, Tunisia and Morocco – French colonies at the time, for an exhibition which lasted from May through October 1907.
Built to showcase France’s colonial power, this attracted over a million people in the six months that the “exhibition” lasted.
The villages were made to reflect life in the colonies, from the architecture to the agricultural practices.
Above is the picture of a Congolese “factory” built in Marseille, in an attempt to imitate life. To this extent, several Congolese people were brought to the site to “work” in this factory.
What attracted over a million people then, now lies abandoned and ignored – a spot of history that France would only too hastily forget. In 2006, despite the public being granted access to the gardens, few actually visited it.(source)
5. Sarah Baartman – the girl who embodied the inhumanity of the human zoos, here, being “exhibited”.
In 1810, 20-year-old Sarah “Saartjie” Baartman was recruited by an exotic animal-dealer to be “exhibited”. With the promise and expectation of wealth and fame, Sarah travelled to London with him, where what followed was far from promised; having a genetic condition that led to Sarah possessing protruding buttocks and an elongated labia, she was the topic of much speculation and attraction. She was dressed in tight-fitting clothes and exhibited at sideshow attractions; she was exhibited as being a “novelty” – something “exotic”. She died, steeped in poverty, only to have her skeleton, brain, and sexual organs displayed in the Museum of Mankind in Paris till 1974. In 2002, following then-President Nelson Mandela’s request, her remains were repatriated.(source)