Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"El Negro of Banyoles"

"El Negro of Banyoles"

Spain to Return Stuffed Body of Bushman

The stuffed body of a 19th-century African Bushman, whose display in a Spanish museum caused international protest, will be sent home to Botswana to be buried, officials agreed today.

The body has been on display since 1916 at a museum in Banyoles, a town 70 miles northeast of Barcelona. The Spanish government and the town signed an agreement to return it to the southern African nation in the next couple of months.

''It was not very appropriate to exhibit a human being of the black race in a Western and developed city,'' Banyoles's mayor, Pedro Bosch, said after the signing.

Some African countries, the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity complained that the exhibit was racist. Two years ago, the body was removed by order of the Foreign Ministry to prevent a diplomatic incident.

A joint statement by the Spanish government and the town said that the body had been removed out of ''respect to the thousands of African immigrants who live in this town.''

The body was said to have been stolen from a grave in Botswana by a French taxidermist just after the man's death in the late 19th century. A Barcelona naturalist acquired the body from the taxidermist to add to a collection that later became the Darder Museum of Natural History in Banyoles.

(source: NY Times, published July 2000)


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