The Return of El Negro

Published by Viking Penguin, 2003.


‘A thought provoking and well-researched book,  bound to cause controversy, not least in government circles but also in the scientific and laymen worlds,’
– Rodrick Mukumbira, newsfromafrica

‘It covers not only the history of El Negro and his return to Botswana but also wider issues about the treatment of human remains in museums and scientific research,’
– University of Botswana History Department.







The story behind the book

“El Negro” was the name given to a southern African man whose body was stolen from his grave in 1830. The body was stuffed in exactly the same way trophy animals were stuffed and taken to Europe to “entertain” the public.

In the 1990s, after a decade of protest and protracted diplomatic intervention, the body was finally repatriated to southern Africa. In October 2000 El Negro was laid to rest in a somber state burial at Tsholofelo Park in central Gaborone, capital city of Botswana.

Even though his true identity remains unknown, El Negro came to symbolize all those murdered, excavated and stolen from Africa and taken to Europe in the name of exploration, science and entertainment.