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Saartjie Baartman’s Ghost

Hilary Mantel: The New Apartheid, 20 September 2007

When Bodies Remember: Experiences and Politics of Aids in South Africa 
by Didier Fassin, translated by Amy Jacobs and Gabrielle Varro.
California, 365 pp., £12.95, April 2007, 978 0 520 25027 7
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The Invisible Cure: Africa, the West and the Fight against Aids 
by Helen Epstein.
Viking, 326 pp., £16.99, July 2007, 978 0 670 91356 5
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... Where to begin? When we tell stories about Africa we can’t speak without an imported frame of reference, carving up the years into the pre-colonial, the post-colonial era: once upon a time in the golden age, once upon a time in the dark ages that followed. But in South Africa over the last two decades, story itself has been shortened, shrinking to the time-span of a truncated life – thirty years perhaps, enough time to have children of your own and leave them a memory box when you die ...

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